Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention to the present moment in a particular way”; non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance and letting go.
These attitudinal qualities enable us to start to experience life as it is, without being blinded by our past (ancestral) experiences and without being shackled to how we believe things should or should not be. Research has showed that doing this allows us to change from the doing mode of mind, which is linked to negative thoughts/beliefs, rumination, worry and avoidance to the being mode of mind (Segal et al, 2013). In the being mode of mind, we are able to experience things as they are, noticing all the different experiences and standing back from these so that we can respond wisely according to our values instead of reacting habitually. This allows us to find peace and inner stillness. Research from neuro-psychology shows that the nature of the mind is complex but flexible. The neurons which fire together become coupled together, and if often repeated become easily triggered. However, we can learn to uncouple these and bring lasting changes.
Mindfulness is secular and is supportive to people of all faiths and those who do not practice any faith; it is a human thing. We mind what we treasure and value (“mind my child”/bag/house). What better than to learn to treasure and value ourselves?
Mindfulness teaches us to learn how to be compassionate, to listen, to tend to our being so that our body, mind and brain work in harmony. Waking to our life instead of sleep walking through life.