What is Mindfulness?

The best way to make our life peaceful, sacred and happy is to live in the present moment, not allowing our mind to wander off into consciously planning for something. All of life is happening in the present moment. We may think we are living, but often the mind is doing one thing and the body another. We miss a lot of our lives because the mind is elsewhere. Joy and wisdom are found in the present. If we train the mind to abide in the present moment we will feel peaceful and unfettered, able to deal skilfully with whatever arises because we are not caught in past perceptions.

Mindfulness refers to remembering to purposely be attentive to present moment experience in a non-judgemental manner. Mindfulness is a coping skill, a way of being and a meditation practice. Being in the moment or simply enjoying the moment is an intrinsically liberating stance that can de-condition or short circuit unhealthy reactive patterns or unnecessary “automatic” responses. Mindfulness can help us not to be intoxicated with the highs of life while protecting us from not being deceived and lost in the lows. With mindfulness it is possible to relax with joyous awe to the mystery and beauty of life.

Attitudes and Related Skills

Developing mindfulness requires a variety of attitudes and other related skills (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). These attitudes and skills include:

 • Focussed attention, doing one thing at a time, or concentration.

 • Acting skilfully in a way that does not harm yourself or others

 • Commitment

• A non-judgemental stance

• Acceptance and kindness

• Patience

• Non-grasping

• A curious investigation or beginners mind and

• Letting go

It is very important to understand that these attitudes and skills develop naturally, in due time and with practice. Do not be discouraged if, at first, they seem not to be present. During the next week dedicate 15 minutes a day to sitting quietly and cultivating the skills listed above. Continue to practice with an open mind and notice any small changes that may be taking place in your life as you begin this journey of self discovery.

Peace, Tammie.

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