What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a way of being, a life-long practice of observing. We begin allowing our compassionate 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, but it can also be insightful and uplifting! Often, we live in somewhat of a daze which can result in not fully being conscious of life experiences. Some examples:

… someone collides with you …
… a friend spills red wine on your new white carpet …

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

Practicing mindfulness is a way of taking control of our lives more fully, learning to relate directly to situations that arise.  By consciously working with challenges and responsibilities, purposefully confronting stress, pain, and illness, we can begin to find greater balance in our day. Enhancing our innate ability for increased awareness by opening our hearts to just observing without judgement during a formal meditation practice allows us to become more attentive to who we really are by opening up to experiencing life more fully.

“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 with chronic pain patients. It quickly expanded to the private sector as a strong coping mechanism for every day stress.  Learning to use our innate resources and abilities to balance life and to respond more effectively to stress, pain, and illness is the main focus of MBSR, with a formal “insightful” meditation practice being intermixed with gentle Yoga. Informal practices add value to one’s day, also. Thus, mindfulness is not something that you have to “get”, but rather a deep internal resource we can nurture and use to learn, grow, and heal. People become involved in mindful practices for many reasons:

  • 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 can benefit from practicing because the pace of life is “out of control”. Ongoing MBSR practices allow us to:
  • Explore mind-body relationship and connect to feelings
  • 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)