Mindfulness practice is the intentional cultivation of moment to moment awareness without judgment or interference. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of MBSR, explains: “The key to mindfulness is not so much what you choose to focus on but the quality of the awareness that you bring to each moment. It is very important that it be non-judgmental-more of a silent witnessing, a dispassionate observing, than a running commentary on your inner experience. Observing without judging, moment by moment, helps you see what is on your mind without editing or censoring it, without intellectualizing it or getting lost in your own incessant thinking.”
Perhaps we might begin a mindfulness practice by simply sitting and noticing the breath….Perhaps by paying attention to all sounds that enter the ears right at this moment….Or perhaps by noticing the tension rising in the body during incidents at work or in personal relationships. This is the practice of non-doing; of just being. With committed daily practice, we begin to intentionally cultivate the art of non-interference; that skill of watching, of being aware as events, thoughts, emotions and sensations pass without letting our old reactions get in the way.
The foundations of mindfulness are basic to many traditional meditative practices. Also known as insight or vipassana meditation, these practices are non-sectarian and non-religious in nature. Mindfulness formal practices include mindful sitting, mindful walking, gratitude practices, compassion and body scan meditations. Informal mindfulness practice refers to the cultivation of present-moment awareness during daily activities. The MBSR course facilitates the cultivation of both the formal and informal practices of mindfulness. Through mindfulness practice, we encourage a greater experience of openness, clarity and compassion.