What IS Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a word. Nothing more, nothing less. As a word it is a symbol or a sign. As a sign or a symbol it points to a way of looking at life in general and one’s own life in particular. Mindfulness points one in the direction of being aware of the present moment.

Mindfulness points to being aware and paying attention in the moment in which we find ourselves. Our past is gone, our future is not yet here. So what exists between them is the present moment. If I can observe and not get caught up in my thoughts, it is all that I have. The here and now, the present is the link that holds what was and what will be.

My past was a series of present moments which brought me to this present moment. My future, should it happen, will be a series of present moments effected by only by the present moment I am now living, being, doing, observing, being aware or unaware and attentive or inattentive.

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.

Kabat-Zinn 1996


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