So what is mindfulness? And what does it mean to you?

Mindfulness is a shift in the way that you pay attention.

Through that subtle shift  . . .  your entire world can transform. . . from the inside out.

When it comes to mindfulness there is understanding it . .. and then there is knowing it, directly in your own experience.

While you may not understand mindfulness as a concept yet, it is assured that at some point in your life, you have naturally already experienced a state of mindfulness.

Look inward and recall a moment when you were totally engaged in an activity.   

A moment when you weren’t thinking about the your “to-do” list or projects or worries . . . 

A moment when every part of your being was focused and relaxed . . . in a sense of flow in the here-and-now.

Maybe this moment was in a quiet moment in nature . . .where the birdsong and the sunlight and the smell of the grass filled your senses.

Or in a sports activity when you experienced yourself naturally in a perfect rhythm, coordination and flow.

Some of the greatest minds and artists of our times describe these kind of moments as when their most innovative ideas and creative expressions have been born.  

When we find ourselves in these moments,  a deep sense of connectedness with life suddenly emerges.

Everything feels alive, present and full of energy . . . yet grounded at the same time.

Scientific evidence lines up with what wisdom traditions have practiced for millenium.  The key to fulfillment . . . to true well being , is not in the external circumstances of our lives, but in our inner life . . .  the quality of awareness in our minds and hearts.

Mindfulness, even if referred to by many different names is,  in fact , a core practice of presence in every wisdom tradition throughout history. 

There are three components to mindfulness . . . three ways in which our attention shifts gears.

  1. In mindfulness practice, one’s attention is held on purpose.  Mindfulness involves the conscious and deliberate direction of our awareness.  It could be said that “being mindfulness” is the opposite of being on “auto-pilot”, which unfotunately is the normal state of the mind for many of us for much of the day.    A mind on auto-pilot is very busy, easily distracted, forgetful and can be experienced as over-active or as a brain-fog.     The practice of mindfulness allows you to wake up out of auto pilot.  It allows you to hold attention where you consciously choose.

2.  The second component of mindfulness is that we are immersed in the present moment.  If we leave our mind to its own devices. . .  it habitually wanders away from the present moment. It constantly gets caught up on replaying the past and projecting into the future.  In other words, we are very rarely fully present in moments of our lives.

Mindfulness attention, however, is completely engaged in present moment experience:  the here and the now.  

3.  Thirdly, when practicing mindfulness, our attention is held non-judgmentally.  We are aiming not to control or suppress our thoughts in anyway.  We simply aim to pay attention to our experiences without judging, labeling or making stories about them in any way.   Mindfulness then allows us to become the watcher of sense perceptions, thoughts and emotions, as they arise without getting caught up in them and being swept away in their current.   

When you are able to live Mindfully you can literally transform your world from the inside out.

And from that place, live in harmony with yourself and in harmony with the world around you.

from Jon Kabat Zinn - creator of MBSR: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction