There are many definitions of mindfulness. Here I have combined several popular views into one. This definition and process may be helpful to readers who cannot quite grasp what it is, what it feels like, and what steps can make it happen.
Good luck in your regular practices!
- Paying attention with full concentration;
- In a focused manner, in the present moment;
- With attention on one thing right now, here now;
- Bare attention to what is inside of you, and bare attention to what is outside of you;
- Without judgments or evaluations of any kind or at any level of perception and consciousness;
- Pure witnessing your own experience as simply the observer of that experience;
- Being aware of mental states without over-identification with them;
- Not going into the past, and not going into the future;
- Without negative or positive self-talk, and no stories or internal conversations;
- Letting go of fantasies and images;
- Not even the most subtle of evaluative beginnings – via changes in breathing, heart rate, muscle tension, facial emotions, or sensations.
- Eventually expanding mindful awareness into other domains of personal experience – such as voluntary control over breathing, thoughts, memories, future projections, smells, sounds, sensations, bodily experiences, emotions, strengths, clinging, and craving.
- Practice meditation, yoga, or walking meditation daily, even if for only a few minutes. Then gradually allow the natural reinforcing tendencies of these practices to motivate you to expand your practice time, in both frequency and duration. Over time brain plasticity will occur, and you will find it easier and enjoyable to practice.
May you be mindful;
May you be more calm;
May you be healthier;
May you be happier; and,
May you live with more joy and less suffering.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
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Sources: This definition has been integrated by various ideas from The Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, J. Goldstein, S. Salzberg, J. Kabat-Zinn, Tulku Thondup, G. Dreyfus, Anthony Quintiliani and many others.