What Does Mindfulness Mean Anyway?

By on July 6, 2014

Through the practice of meditation, in its purest sense, we cultivate a standpoint of mindfulness. Mindfulness on the cushion is how we watch each thought, emotion or bodily sensation that comes up, we note what has come up, “Isn’t that interesting,” and we return to the breath, or just the feeling of being in our bodies.

When we are mindful of what is happening within us, without getting caught up in the story we create around these thoughts and sensations, we begin to see reality as it is, instead of how we think it might be.

Mindfulness in daily life could be called meditation in action. When we meet our lives in a mindful way, we allow ourselves to see exactly what is going on.

Your coworker just said something that caused you to feel anger – “interesting” – and instead of your former reflexive reaction to this anger – snapping back and furthering the discord – you simply sit with it, you see how quickly you identified with the “poor me” story, and then you’re free to let it go.

Mindfulness is how we allow our meditation practice to inform the rest of our lives.

How mindful can you be today?

Quick Meditation Tip

Just sit and watch. Let yourself be unswayed by anything that comes up, even physical discomfort. Breathe through it, relax into it, and feel the spaciousness that arrives with the practice.

Quote From Adam

“When we mindfully watch our bodily sensations, we should not confuse them with mental formations, for bodily sensations can arise completely independent of the mind.

For instance, we sit comfortably. After a while, there can arise some uncomfortable feeling in our back or our legs. Our mind immediately experiences that discomfort and forms numerous thoughts around the feeling. At that point, without confusing the feeling with the mental formations, we should isolate the feeling as feeling and watch it mindfully.

Other times, a certain emotion, such as resentment, fear or lust, may arise. During these times we should watch the emotion exactly as it is, without confusing it with anything else.”

– Bhante G, “Mindfulness in Plain English”

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