What is Mindfulness?

Much of the time, we live in somewhat of a daze if we are not practicing mindful awareness ~~ and, therefore, are not fully conscious in our daily lives.

Another person collides with you …
… your friend spills red wine on your new white carpet …

… you suddenly realize you forgot an important appointment …
“Pay attention” we might say to another…
… or we send an inner message to ourselves: “Wake up!”

Mindfulness is a way of taking control of our lives, learning to relate directly to any situation that arises.  By systematically and consciously working with challenges and responsibilities of everyday life, purposefully confronting stress, pain, and illness by enhancing our innate ability for increased awareness, we can regenerate balance into our day.  Greater awareness arises as we open our hearts and pay attention to each moment without judgment.  Being alert and open to experiencing life fully, we become much more attentive to who we really are ~~

Mindfulness is not merely a “method” or “technique”, but rather a way of being, a life-long practice of observing. We begin allowing our compassionate and understanding nature as human beings to emerge in moment-to-moment life experiences. Tapping into our innate mindful nature through an ongoing mindfulness practice can be a humbling experience ~ looking deeply at oneself can be challenging ~~ it can also be most insightful and uplifting!  Let it make a difference in your “world” and improve your health and wellbeing.

“Mindfulness provides a simple but powerful route for getting ourselves unstuck, back {in} touch with our own wisdom and vitality” and it sheds …  “new light on core dimensions of our true nature as human beings.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD)

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) ~~ What and Why?

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Clinic was started in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, as clinical work with chronic pain patients. It has expanded into the private sector as a strong coping mechanism for stressors of every day life.  In these practices, we learn to use our own innate resources and abilities to balance life and to respond more effectively to stress, pain, and illness. The main focus of MBSR is training in mindful (insight) meditation for integration into dealing with daily life and its challenges, intermixed with gentle Yoga.  Mindfulness is not something that you have to “get”, but rather it is a deep internal resource waiting to be released and used in learning, growing, and healing.  People become involved as participants in mindful practices for many reasons, such as:

  • Stress — job, family or financial
  • Chronic pain and illness
  • Anxiety and panic
  • GI distress
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
Even those who are feeling well physically may participate in MBSR programs because the pace of their lives is “out of control” or they are “stressed out”. An ongoing mindfulness-based stress reduction practice allows us to:
  • Explore mind-body relationship and connect to feelings
  • Develop a sense of who we are, beyond fears & self-judgment
  • Diminish stress & experience greater calm
  • Realize inner resources that can change everyday life
  • Awaken innate capacity for wisdom and insight
  • Expand world view, broadening perspective, based on seeing things just as they are
  • Deepen courage, connection, clarity and compassion
  • Find genuine happiness in moment to moment balanced living

“Meditation can be thought of as the art of awakening. Through the mastery of this art we can learn new ways to approach our difficulties and bring wisdom and joy alive in our life.  Through developing meditation’s tools and practices we can awaken the best of our spiritual, human capacities. The key to this art is the steadiness of our attention.  When the fullness of our attention is cultivated together with a grateful and tender heart, our spiritual life will naturally grow.” (Jack Kornfield, PhD)