Mindfulness is the process of steadying, training, and quieting the mind to see what is actually happening around us and within us, in our minds, hearts and bodies. By paying attention in this way, the tension in the mind and the stress in the body often decrease. As our awareness develops, we learn to see more clearly and deliberately, we increase our capacity for curiosity, expand our tolerance and resilience, and decrease the mind’s habitual patterns of unhelpful judgments and internal criticism.
Through our direct experience, we learn the difference between the judgmental mind and the discerning mind, harmful self-talk and internal guidance. Developing mindfulness leads us to our innately clear minds and our naturally kind hearts allowing us to act skillfully, wisely and effectively.
It’s important to recognize that mindfulness is not about becoming a better this or that. It’s about becoming fully aware of whatever is happening, whether we like it or not, whether it’s pleasant or painful, and finding some ease even within difficulty. Mindfulness increases our capacity to manage our lives just as they are wherever we are.
Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fear it will always be this way (which it won’t). – James Baraz