Mindfulness as defined by Bhante Gunaratana (Bhante G.) is “paying attention moment to moment to what is.” The paying attention moment to moment is helped by our concentration practice so that we can focus on the what is. With mindfulness, we can discern whether we are in the present sensing experiences or whether we are locked up in our minds lost in the past (memories) or future (anticipation) and not paying attention to what is happening in the present. By practicing mindfulness, we can be aware of our conditioning of experience and be able to investigate. In this way, we can track back to the origin of our suffering.
How can we shift into mindfulness as a frequent daily practice?
- We make it a habit, just like we learn to brush our teeth twice a day.
- We create reminders to reinforce this habit. For example, each time we enter a room, we ask ourselves, “What is going on right now?”
- We remain curious and inquire.
- We observe our thoughts and bodily sensations.
- Jon Kabat Zinn and others call this “awarenessing”.