Mindfulness is a particular way of paying attention to our experience in the present moment, without preference or judgement. It allows us to clearly perceive thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, sensory experiences and events as they occur, engaging our full awareness and all our senses.
Mindfulness is a natural awareness that we all have, which we can develop more deeply and helpfully in our daily lives. When we practice mindfulness we are choosing to be more present: coming back to the present moment, we become more in touch with what is going on in our mind, body and environment, and the subtle details of our changing experience.
With stress, pain, illness or suffering, our habitual reactions often add layers of difficulty to our experience. Our fast-paced culture can leave us scattered, distracted and overwhelmed. Often we may be swept away by the current of thoughts, feelings, worries, pressures and responsibilities, caught in “automatic pilot”, constant activity and “doing”, with little awareness of the present moment, or time for “being”. This habitual way of living may often be the source of stress.
When we practise mindfulness, our attention is no longer caught in the past or future and we are not judging, evaluating or resisting what we experience in the present moment.