Mindfulness is the intentional paying attention to the present moment with a non-judgemental awareness. This sounds simple enough but the difficult part of this is the ‘intentional’ and the ‘non-judgemental’ aspects. The intentional is difficult because so often we are on ‘auto pilot’ and what we pay attention to is just random and unintentional, we are not in control of our attention or where we are focussing but this is vitally important for living a conscious life as Alan Wallace says:
“…if you were able to focus your attention at will, you could actually choose the universe you appear to inhabit.”
“The non-judgemental part is difficult because we are addicted to thinking and judging. This is a tough lesson to learn but it becomes obvious the first time you sit down to meditate. But the difference between a judging mind and an open one is literally the difference between happiness and suffering. Judgements are narrow and confining but an open mind is spacious and freeing and also intelligent. One Zen Masters calls it beginners mind:
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.”
…so there are many benefits to practising mindfulness both in a formal way sitting on a cushion and also during your daily life. It may be difficult but the results are worth it.
Here is a graph that explains How Mindfulness Can Change your Life: