WHAT IS Mindfulness?

It seems like mindfulness is the word on everyone’s lips at the moment. Almost every time we turn on the tv or open a newspaper someone somewhere is promoting it. From celebrities to sports stars, entrepreneurs to politicians it seems like everyone is doing it, but what are they doing and what is the point? Mindfulness is a form of meditation, a practice and like many other things the more we practice the more we get out of it. It is important to be aware that mindfulness is not a “cure all” but there is now some compelling evidence to suggest that it can influence people’s health, well- being and happiness when practised regularly.

Many people are wary of mindfulness and meditation believing it to be a religious activity and in fact it originates from Buddhist teachings some 2500 years ago. Today though, while mindfulness is still part of many religions, it is also a secular activity which has gained in popularity across the globe. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a medical doctor in Massachusetts USA, has been credited along with others for making mindfulness more accessible to the western world. His definition of mindfulness is:-

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.”

There are many myths surrounding mindfulness and what it is and what it claims to do.

We live in a busy world and that often means doing rather than being, a world where we are constantly striving for success and fear failure. Mindfulness helps us to see things with greater clarity and compassion for ourselves and others. It is not necessary to sit cross legged, chant or wear specific types of clothing to practise mindfulness! Neither is the idea to empty your mind or control your thoughts, it’s to stop allowing your thoughts to control you. Mindfulness teaches compassion for yourself and others and how to live in the present moment.

Mindfulness Quotes

  • “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.”

    Jon Jabat-Zinn
  • “Every one of us already has the seed of mindfulness. The practice is to cultivate it.”

    Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.”

    Eckhart Tolle