What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice which is very relevant for life today. Mindfulness is a very simple concept. Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally. This increases awareness, clarity and acceptance of our present-moment reality.
Mindfulness does not conflict with any beliefs or tradition, religious, cultural or scientific. It is simply a practical way to notice thoughts, physical sensations, sights, sounds, smells – anything we might not normally notice. The actual skills might be simple, but because it is so different to how our minds normally behave, it takes a lot of practice.
I might go out into the garden and as I look around, I think “that grass really needs cutting, and that vegetable patch looks very untidy”. My young daughter on the other hand, will call over excitedly, “Mummy – come and look at this ant!” Mindfulness can simply be noticing what we don’t normally notice, because our heads are too busy in the future or in the past – thinking about what we need to do, or going over what we have done.
Mindfulness might simply be described as choosing and learning to control our focus of attention.