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Explore: Mindfulness

Mindfulness can serve as a valuable tool to carry on your heart's true path.

Through a series of upcoming posts, you'll learn more specifically how mindfulness can help you on your journey. To start with, this post explores mindfulness and discusses what it is, what it isn't and where you can read more about this centering practice.

What is Mindfulness?

In his book The Miracle of Mindfulness, world renowned Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh explains that mindfulness is "keeping one's consciousness alive to the present reality." Similarly, mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn describes: "Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally." In short, writes Kabat-Zinn in Wherever You Go, There You Are, mindfulness is "the art of conscious living."

Recently, I participated in a seminar on mindfulness presented by Olivia Downing of Liv Mindfully. One handout from the mini-course outlined what mindfulness is and isn't in a list similar to this:

Mindfulness is: osteopermum & geranium

Awareness

The opposite of mindlessness or automation

Acute observation & connection to reality

Managing your mind; creating opportunities to choose

Absence of judgment and labels (e.g., good or bad, positive or negative)

Mindfulness is not:

Stopping thoughts completely

A religious practice

Escaping from reality

Applying judgment

Is mindfulness the same as meditation?

In a word: no. Meditation is one formal way to practice mindfulness, along with yoga. (Visit my post Learn: Meditation for a basic meditation overview.) We can integrate informal mindfulness practices into our lives while we're doing household tasks, relating with those around us and moving through our days. Both Thich Nhat Hanh and Jon Kabat-Zinn suggest asking yourself throughout the day: "Am I awake to my life in this moment?" The third post in this series, Learn: How to Practice Mindfulness, will offer more in-depth information about applying mindfulness in your life.

You can find more information about mindfulness as well as meditation in the above links as well as in my previous post Explore: Meditation. Watch for forthcoming posts in this series: Learn: 3 Ways Mindfulness Can Help You on Your Heart's True Path and Learn: How to Practice Mindfulness.

If you have comments or thoughts to share, you'll find me on twitter. You're also invited to join the conversation at the new L+E+S community page on Facebook. I hope to connect with you on the interwebs!

 

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