About Mindfulness Meditation
There has been much said in recent years about mindfulness, what it is and what it isn't. Very basically put, Mindfulness is the capacity to not forget what we are doing from moment to moment.
All of us are mindfulful, but much of the time we are distracted, lost in thoughts about the past, an imagined future, only fleetingly are we present to our experience as it arises in the present.
An example: Have you ever had the experience of leaving your home, only to wonder if you locked the door behind you? You turn around, walk back home and check the front door only to find yourself for the second time somewhere down the street and wonder again if you locked the front door? This is a lack of mindfulness, forgetting the present. Arguably you were aware as you walked back to the house, up to the front door and left again, but perhaps you were lost in thought, daydreaming. You forgot to be aware of what you were doing.
Had you been mindful in the first place, you would have locked the door and left the house knowing that you had locked the door.
Mindfulness then is remembering to be aware of what is arising in the present. It is the capacity of being aware of, paying attention to what is going on as it actually arises.
In Mindfulness meditation, we develop this skill by choosing something to place our attention on, most often the bodily sensations of the in and out breath. As soon as we become aware that the mind has wandered, we gently and intentionally return to the felt sensations of this very breath, practising to return without judgement or commentary. Mindfulness meditation is NOT about trying to empty the mind or trying to obtain some desired state, but it is the practice of being in the here and now, not being lost in conclusions or fantasies about it. If the mind is quiet we can be mindful of the quiet, opening to the experience. If the mind is full of thoughts, we can be mindful that the mind is busy instead of being lost and tossed around by those thoughts.
As we become more mindful, the sense of presence increases and our lived experiences become more vivid, fresh and rich.