What would you say if I suggested that you were missing half of your own life? What if you were so driven by your doing mind (the part of us that is trained from an early age to be busy doing or planning or thinking about something or someone in each and every moment) that you never even noticed, or were unaware, that you were missing anything at all?
Thinking about mindfulness and DOING mindful practices are two very different things. It is in the repeated and purposeful practice of engaging in mindful activity that we can start to cultivate a state of being mind. Most of our lives rush by without our full awareness.
Mindfulness seeks to deliberately keep us in the present moment, and thereby, to block the tendency of our auto-pilot minds to wander from place to place, thousands of times in an hour or a day.
Mindfulness does not require any changes in your spiritual beliefs. It is not a religion, although it has its roots in Eastern Buddhist psychology. Mindfulness does not require that you sit in a full lotus posture while burning incense and chanting a mantra. Mindfulness is a lifestyle and not just a therapeutic technique.
Essential Qualities of Mindfulness Practices
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrohe Living, 1990:
- Nonjudging: impartial witnessing, observing the present moment without evaluation
- Nonstriving: non-goal-oriented, unattached to outcome or achievement, not forcing
- Acceptance: openness to seeing and acknowledging things as they are
- Patience: allowing things to unfold in their time with ourselves, others, moments
- Trust: trusting oneself, one’s body, intuition, emotions, life as it is
- Openness: seeing things as if for the first time (aka “beginner’s mind”)
- Letting go: intentional non-attachment with thoughts, feelings, allowing (not suppressing) Shapiro, S.L. & Schwartz, G.E. (2000). The role of intention in self-regulation: Toward intentional systemic mindfulness. In M. Boekaerts, P.R. Pintrich & M. Zeidner (eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp.253-273).
- Gentleness: a soft, considerate, tender, welcoming capacity (active not passive)
- Generosity: giving in the moment within a context of love and compassion, without an expectation of gain or a thought of return
- Empathy: the quality of feeling and understanding another person’s perspective
- Gratitude: the quality of reverence, appreciating, being thankful for the present moment
- Lovingkindness: a quality of embodying benevolence, compassion, and cherishing; a quality filled with forgiveness and unconditional love
The above essential qualities were prepared by Dr. Pantaleno (© Pantaleno, 2011) based upon the cited sources.
Some Great Mindfulness Practice Resources
© Anthony Pantaleno, Ph.D. 2013
You Tube: Search for:
- “Healing and the Mind”: This is the original PBS documentary
featuring Bill Moyers interviewing John Kabat Zinn at the
University of Massachusetts Stress Reduction Clinic
- "Jon Kabat Zinn at Google”: This is a fantastic introductory lecture given by John Kabat-Zinn to the employees at Google.
- Mindfulness for Dummies, Shamash Alidina
- The Mindfulness Solution, Ron Siegel
- The Happiness Trap, Russ Harris
- Things Might Go Horribly, Terribly Wrong, KellyWilson
- A Mindful Way Through Depression, Mark Williams
- A Mindful Nation, Tim Ryan
- Calming Your Anxious Mind, Jeff Brantley
- Acceptance and Mindfulness Treatments for Children and
Adolescents, Laurie Grecko and Stephen Hayes
- The Power of Now, Eckert Tolle
- The Wise Heart, Jack Kornfield
You order a set of practice CDs from one of the master educators on the subject (Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn) at
www.stressreductiontapes.com. You can attend a workshop given by mindfulness training centers, which offer regularly scheduled workshops in New York City, with information at
For education professionals, consider taking my introductory workshop. Please call me for dates.
For an extensive bibliography on mindfulness research and