Jon Kabat-Zinn, Father of MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) defines mindfulness as “awareness that rises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, nonjudgmentally as if your life depended upon it.”
Mindfulness is a way of being in the world and incorporates the following attitudes:
- Non-Judging. Impartial Witness. A noticing of the stream of the judging mind and not trying to stop it but simply being aware of it.
- Patience. Reflects Wisdom. Letting things organically unfold in their own time and on their own schedule, not on the schedule of the ego.
- Beginner’s Mind. Freshness. Meeting things and situations freshly. Allowing yourself to experience things as if you were meeting them for the first time.
- Trust. Honor Yourself in Knowing What You Know. Trusting your own authority and intuition, even if you make mistakes along the way.
- Non-Striving. Being, Not Doing. Paying attention to how you are right now—however that is.
- Acceptance. Seeing Things as They Are. A willingness to see things and ourselves as they are without trying to change anything. This doesn’t mean you must like and/or tolerate everything.
- Letting Go. A Way of Letting Things BE. A releasing of ideas about situations and ourselves and noticing what is.
While mindfulness includes formal meditation, you can practice mindfulness in a myriad of formal and informal ways:
- Body Scan Meditation: supine (face up) meditation
- Sitting Meditation: mindfulness of breath, body, feelings, thoughts and emotions, and choiceless awareness
- Gentle Hatha Yoga: mindful movement of the body
- Walking Meditation
- Awareness of breathing
- Awareness of routine activities
- Washing dishes
- Communication with others
Practical Resources on Mindfulness:
- Mindfulness Video (Thich Nhat Hanh)
- The attitudes of mindfulness videos (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
- Book: Jon Kabat Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living (Revised Edition): Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness
- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) overview
- Meditation for beginners (Dan Harris and Sharon Salzberg)
- Mindful eating (Thich Nhat Hanh)
- Awareness of Breathing Meditation
- Insight Timer app
- Free Guided Meditations