Mindfulness is a simple and very powerful practice of training our attention. It’s simple because it’s just about paying attention to what’s happening here and now (thoughts, sensations or emotions) in a non-judgemental way. It’s powerful because it can interrupt the habit of getting lost in thoughts, mostly about the future or past, which often generates more stress, adding it at the one that we perceive in everyday life.
According to the definition of Jon Kabat-Zinn, founding professor and director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Mindfulness means "paying attention in a particular way: intentionally, in the present moment and in a non-judgmental way".
In the present moment because we waste a lot of time and energy thinking about the past or planning/caring for the future. The present moment is the only one in which we live and in which we can act and at the same time, the one that we are less aware of.
Non-judgmental attitude means accepting all feelings and thoughts, no matter how unpleasant or painful, without resistance. Without thought, pain is just pain. Thought, especially the inability to accept and experience it, transforms pain into suffering.
Mindfulness is therefore a process that cultivates the ability to pay attention to the present moment, awareness and acceptance of the present moment.
- Pay attention to what happens around and inside to us. We do not pay enough attention to the fact that we do not pay attention.
- Self-discovery process, a self-investigation in which we observe our experiences as we participate in them.
- The ultimate goal is to bring concentration and awareness into our daily lives, in easy and difficult times, in every context and situation;
- Acquiring a new mental skill;
- Become aware of our automatic pilot and common human tendencies, avoidance/rejection, attachment and indifference.
Mindfulness is based on what are called the 7 pillars of the practice itself.
These are seven principles, useful for approaching life too, with an attitude and an open mind that help to develop our innate ability to accept things as they are.
- Not judgment
- Beginner's Mind
- Don't strive
- Let go