What is Mindfulness?
To be mindful means you are practicing the act of paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, in a non-judgmental way. This is a practice and there is no point of perfection to reach. There is no such thing as a good or bad mindfulness practice or a good or bad meditator.
Jennifer herself used to think that she was bad at meditation because she frequently couldn’t get her mind to quiet and settle. She learned through deeper training and working with mentors that to be mindful means to notice the experience and practice while not judging that experience. It is possible to notice a wandering or busy mind and hold that experience with acceptance.
We lead busy lives and are conditioned to not pay attention to many of our experiences. We are programmed to attach to pleasant experiences and resist those that are unpleasant. All of this results in suffering, both physically and emotionally. Mindfulness gives us the ability to press the pause button, just for a moment, and investigate our experiences with curiosity, clarity and compassion, and to actually increase the space between stimulus and response. Through mindful practices, we are able to discover ways of naturally and skillfully being vs. doing (automatic pilot mode) through compassionate living.
There are a wide variety of mindfulness practices and some may resonate more with specific individuals. The informal practice is moment to moment living. The wonderful thing about mindfulness is that every second provides us the opportunity to be present to our experience, no matter what our activity. Some of the formal practices include sitting and walking practices. Even speaking and listening can be practiced mindfully! There is no right or wrong way to be mindful, and once you learn a variety of practices, you can choose what it is that is most supportive to you in each moment.