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Mindfulness - " Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment in a very particular way" John Kabat Zinn
It is the nature of being human that our minds have the capacity to carry us away from the present moment to re-hash the past, or worry about the future. This habit of mind can be pervasive, and so familiar that we may not even realize the effect on our ability to attend to the present moment; the words of our loved ones, our current physical surroundings, nature and all that it offers are lost to us as our mind speeds ahead to what is next, or reviews the past.. often for what we may have done wrong.
Mindfulness is a practice of "waking up" to the present moment through our senses. We are invited to notice the taste of our food and truly be fully present for the process of eating, the sensation of walking, the sounds around us... one mindfully. This means engaging with reality through one sense at a time. This is a practice of focusing our attention deliberately. Another mindfulness practice is that of expanding our attention and taking in everything but clinging to nothing. This is called choiceless awareness. It is a more advanced practice.
It turns out the learning to relate to our experience in this mindful way is correlated with increased happiness and well being. It is also becoming more and more evident that learning to observe our minds, and our emotions rather than to be caught up in them can help us step out of spirals of negative emotion that contribute to depression, anxiety and other forms of emotional dis-ease.
As I work more with this site I will provide links to research, articles and other resources
on this topic.
In the meantime, you can learn more by reading from an author and spiritual teacher from the Buddhist tradition, Thich Nhat Hanh. While he is a buddhist, he presents these concepts as an offering for achieving happiness for people of all traditions including those with no spiritual traditions. You may also wish to read from Dr. Jon Kabat-Zin's work. He has applied mindfulness practices and yoga to stress reduction.