What is Mindfulness?
(from: Bruce, N., Manber, R., Shapiro, S., & Constantino, M. (2010). Psychotherapist mindfulness and the psychotherapy process. Psychotherapy Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 47(1), 83-97.)
A popular definition of mindfulness is:
“The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose,
in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience
from moment to moment.” (Kabat-Zinn, 2003, p. 145)
3 Core Elements to Practicing Mindfulness:
1) Attention: suspension of all manner of interpreting experience and simply attending to the experience itself. The antithesis is being lost in thought, on auto-pilot, or trance-like. The goal is to become aware when one’s mind drifts away from the present moment and to gently return attention to the here and now.
2) Attitude: more than bare awareness, but involves attitudes of COAL – Curiosity, Openness, Acceptance, and Love. The antithesis is boredom, closed-mindedness, inferiority/superiority, non-empathy, and a sense of devaluing the other or the experience. The goal is to practice the process of COAL starting with one’s own thoughts, emotions, and sensations, including feelings of boredom, fear, and frustration.
3) Intention: you tend to find what you seek, or realize the experience that you intend to encounter. This removes all-or-nothing rigidity, recognizing that mindfulness abilities vary moment-to-moment, and that is OK. The antithesis is to have no faith or deep desire to make change or to be mindful, or to be unaware that you have competing unconscious intentions that are getting in the way. The goal is to place belief or faith in your intention, where your intention for mindfulness becomes a road map or mission statement framing the fact that you intend to pay attention to the present moment and to greet experience with openness (even during times when that is not happening).
Mindfulness Enhances Your Relationship with Yourself and With Others:
Attunement: Like validation, attunement is described where one person focuses on the internal world of the other, and the recipient of this attention feels felt, understood, and connected. This requires: a) emotional intelligence to read the feeling state of the other person (or self); b) communicate this understanding of the feeling state through your behavior and actions; c) the other person (or you) recognizes the feeling state as a result of your behavior (or the other).
“Mindfulness is a state of intrapersonal attunement in which one attends to himself or herself with compassion and kindness, and when able to manifest this self-attunement, she or he is also purportedly
better able to attune to others”
(Siegel, D. (2007). The mindful brain: reflection and attunement in the cultivation of well-being. New York, NY: Norton)
Mindfulness Meditation Practice – On-Line