What is mindfulness?
Before you read on, may we invite you to do a simple exercise: lay down whatever you are doing, take 5 minutes to observe your surroundings and then come back to the screen.
Wonderful! Now, think about what you observed earlier. Which of the following (left cloud or right cloud) apply to you?
If your mind is like the cloud on the right, congratulations - both your body and mind were present at that moment! If your mind is like the cloud on the left, fret not. You are not the only one. Many of us may be physically present, yet our mind wander into the past, the future or even a virtual reality instead of staying in the present.
Mindfulness is a practice that can be developed into a positive life habit. It consists of paying attention, with full intention and awareness, to what we are experiencing, in the present moment, and moment by moment. These experiences may consist of thoughts, feelings, moods, emotions, or bodily sensations. An important aspect of mindfulness practice is that we learn to be open, allowing and to not evaluate or judge these experiences as they arise. Another way to express it is to say that Mindfulness is
"Awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally."
- Jon Kabat Zinn
Dr. Steve Hickman, Founding Director, University of California San Diego (UCSD) Center of Mindfulness, in conversation with Mr. Randolph Oudemans, Founder and CEO of Now.Here. on the key qualities of Mindfulness.
Benefits of Mindfulness
As a practice and approach to living, Mindfulness aims at profound flourishing. Practiced over a period of years, Mindfulness seeks to create an emotionally balanced, meaningful life, animated by a spirit of compassion and caring. As a result, Mindfulness is able to bring about an array of benefits including: