Woodland 1310 x 350

What is mindfulness?

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.

Beech leaf

Coming back to the present moment involves a simple shift of awareness which can dramatically improve the quality of our lives. Mindfulness enables a non-judgemental acceptance of experience which changes our relationship with difficulty. It helps us to notice stress building up, and when our minds are caught in unhelpful thought patterns. With mindfulness we can respond with skilful choices rather than with habitual reactions.

Each moment is a new beginning, full of possibility and offers the potential to rediscover what is important and meaningful in our lives. Mindfulness enables us to see things more clearly and to find a calm place from which to meet life’s challenges with growing strength, clarity and confidence. Living mindfully helps us to develop kindness to ourselves and others, and to find more pleasure and fulfilment in our lives and relationships.

Mindfulness … it is the miracle which can, in a flash, call back our dispersed
mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can truly live each minute of life.

Thich Nhat Hanh