Practicing Mindfulness

by Carol Hendershot

mindfulnessThere are three essential elements to the practice of mindfulness – intention, attention and attitude.

INTENTION is WHY we practice. It’s what brought us to this practice and what keeps us practicing, it’s what is really important to us? Are we practicing to heal a physical or emotional wound, to reduce our stress, or simply for the joy and equanimity it brings to our lives.

ATTENTION is WHAT we practice. What we are engaged in is paying attention to this very moment. We know that our mind will wander into thoughts of the past and future, that’s just what the mind does. And we are committed to bringing ourselves back again and again to right here and right now. In the course of one meditation, we may have to come back to the body or the breath a hundred times, that is the practice, that is what meditation is.

ATTITUDE is HOW we practice. Intrinsic to our practice is an attitude of acceptance, openness, curiosity and kindness. Old patterns show up again and again, and we may fall into negativity or criticism, but as best we can, we return to these more wholesome ways of relating to our experience. In this way, our intentions for healing, stress reduction, joy, and equanimity begin to manifest.

In “Three Ways to Live a Mindful Life,” Ed Haliwell speaks of three other attitudes that can enrich our mindfulness practice – commitment, courage and cheerfulness.

In our classes over the last two weeks we have explored the potential benefits of noticing pleasant and unpleasant events in our lives. I know, you’re thinking, “I get why I might want to pay attention to pleasant moments but why in the world would I want to give any more mental space to the unpleasant things that happen?” Read the following article to learn why this might be a good idea.

Three Ways to Live a Mindful Life
by Ed Halliwell

Mindfulness isn’t just about paying attention. Ed Halliwell explores 3 key mindsets that form part of a mindful way of living.

Mindfulness is not just “neutral noticing”-certain attitudes form part of a mindful way of living. Well-being seems to come as much from how we approach experiences-how we choose to see and work with them-as it does from what’s going on around us and what actions we take. The most commonly mentioned mindful attitudes are curiosity and compassion, but there are others we can cultivate as well. Here are three of them: commitment, courage, and cheerfulness. Read More