Mindfulness: The simple experience of paying attention to what is happening, both as a participant and an observer. (The opposite of forgetfulness.)
In the strictest sense mindfulness is seeing into the true nature of things. When our consciousness has evolved to this state, we more easily recognize that in this moment, if we have breath, we have all that we need. Our awareness is resting in the now. Eckhart Tolle’ the author of The Power Of Now calls it Witnessing Presence. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) describes it as “awarenessing.”
Living a mindful life supports making clear and conscious choices that do not come from being afraid or threatened. Through a mindfulness practice we move toward experiencing life differently, more productively, more truthfully and see that even death of our physical body is not the end of our spiritual life. At first this can be very difficult to accept, especially if we are accustomed to allowing our ego consciousness to control the choices we make and the direction of where our attention goes. One of the first steps I share with all of those I work with is to teach them techniques to become aware of how often we make choices out of fear, rather than a state of safety. Naturally, when we grow into the “knowingness” that our true essence can never be threatened — fear states — become a thing of the past and freedom ensues.
Mindfulness, ironically points us toward a “state of being” where we are not controlled by our thoughts or the conditioned mind. Within the practice we learn that it is useless to attempt to stop thinking, but instead through practice and an open heart, learn to be “the awareness” of all of our patterned thinking. The fight is over!
An inquired MEDITATION PRACTICE helps to support our intention toward living a mindful life. With INSIGHT MEDITATION, for example, or Mindfulness Meditation we remain centered in awareness using our breath as the ‘object of focus’ and reminding ourselves to return to our breath when we discover that our attention has wondered and has become attached to a thought or series of thoughts. It is through cultivating a practice of being the ‘awareness’ that we reduce the amount of time when we are in a state of ‘identification’ with our conditioned mind. This enables the experience of seeing things as they truly are, a state of mindfulness, a state of presence, rather than referencing some other point in time, be it past or future, that does not exist.
Mindfulness practice is the foundation of authentic joy.