Meditation and yoga are two ancient and powerful techniques that have been helping people for thousands of years to heal, center themselves through challenging life circumstances, and summon more fulfillment and peace into their lives.
So what about mindfulness, then? What does mindfulness have to do with meditation or yoga?
Let’s start by defining mindfulness.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, American professor and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic, calls mindfulness.
“Awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.”
The Oxford dictionary defines mindfulness in the context of mental health as:
“A mental state achieved by concentrating on the present moment, while calmly accepting the feelings and thoughts that come to you, used as a technique to help you relax.”
To me, mindfulness is:
“The practice of fully accepting the present moment by fully accepting whoever and whatever you are in that moment, irrespective of your life situation.”
In any definition of mindfulness, the central theme is being present.
“Being” present requires “accepting” the present moment. “Accepting” the present moment means to be fully focused — to center your awareness and attention as Jon Kabat-Zinn says — on what is happening in the here and now. If you do not accept who you are in the here and now and what is happening to you, then necessarily it means that you are engaged in thinking from the lens of the ego.
Labeling what happens here and now as “good” or “bad,” is the root of ego, because it enables the ego to compare your current — present — self to your perception of self from the past or future, in either better or worse terms. Inherent in this train of thought is non-acceptance of yourself and resistance to your situation here and now. Our egos want to hoard the “good” things and run away the “bad” things, and thinking this is possible prevents us from accepting the present and therefore being present, which is how we lose our mindfulness.
If we label the here and now as bad — say when the stock market has a down day — we’ll…