Mindfulness is a way of “being” in life rather than “doing” in life. A Mindfulness practice and its cultivation can reduce distress and improves emotional well-being. Mindfulness provides the means to find wholesome and healthy ways of relating to what life brings, it’s joys, sorrows and everything in-between.
Essentially you can think of Mindfulness as “Pure” awareness. It is a quality of awareness that arises from paying attention, willfully and intentionally, in the present moment, while being nonjudgmental and accepting whatever experience appears without reaction. It is a “noticing” a “knowing” of what is happening both internally and externally and allowing life to affect us as it does without the layers opinions and perceptions, wants and dislikes we add to the experience.
Attention and Awareness are qualities of mindfulness and each of these are already part of us. Awareness and Attention are always with us though we are not fully acquainted with them and most of us have not fully embodied them into our experience of life.
You already have awareness. It is not something you have to achieve and learn. Awareness is as much a part of being human as our capacity for thinking and or breathing. To know awareness is to know it is just there. You could say to yourself, well I feel the sensation of my hands on the car wheel or the sensations of walking and it is through awareness that I know this. It arises spontaneously as sensations appear, as thoughts appear – and as emotions are felt and appear.
In the practice of meditation, we are developing and cultivating this unfiltered quality of awareness, which we call “pure awareness” and “bare attention”. These qualities, which we cultivate in meditation are a part of what we are calling Mindfulness.
The other essential qualities in mindfulness are being non judgmental , non reactive and perceiving non-conceptually to our human emotional and physical experiences. The being non judgmental is not some lofty ideal. The doctors Hippocratic oath says “do no harm” and so we are applying this to ourselves.
Being non judgmental, non reactive and non-conceptualizing are mindfulness qualities to cultivate and we should make a commitment to them as best we can. These attitudes are essentially acts of compassion towards ourselves.