What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is developed by purposefully paying attention, without judgement, to what is going on in your body, your mind and in the world around you at any given moment. It is a practice, which like any skill, can be developed with intention, effort, commitment and patience.
Mindfulness allows us to experience greater balance, choice and participation in life by bringing acceptance and curiosity to all of our varied experiences. The practice can enable us to think, feel and behave with more clarity and wisdom, rather than acting out of habitual patterns that may not serve us. Mindfulness encourages us to take more authority in our own lives and offers ways of working wisely and compassionately with difficulties so we can choose what is nourishing for ourselves and others.
MINDFULNESS IS NOT...
A religion -
Being mindful is our fundamental human capacity to be present, available and attentive; it is simply part of the human experience. Mindfulness meditation has its origins in contemplative practices that go back thousands of years, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Stoicism. Some of these are religious traditions, and some are not. We offer mindfulness teachings from a secular, science-based approach.
Clearing away thoughts -
Many people incorrectly believe that mindfulness is about having a blank mind. Instead, it is a practice that allows us to observe our thoughts, emotions and experiences as if they are passing clouds in the sky, so we see and acknowledge them, but we don’t become so attached to them and the often inaccurate stories they generate for us.
A relaxation technique -
Relaxation is often a side effect of mindfulness meditation practice, but not always. Immediate relaxation is not the goal.
A training in deep breathing -
The breath is often used as a point of focus to anchor your attention on the present moment, however mindfulness meditation does not require you to alter your breathing in any way.
A way to eliminate stress -
Mindfulness has been proven to be very successful at reducing unecessary stress. We wouldn’t want to completely eliminate stress because a certain amount of stress is required to cause us to take action and respond when situations do not serve us, particularly in situations of real danger.