Mindfulness is the act of openly and actively observing your moment-to-moment experience with kindness. As we do this, we will begin to understand our bodies and minds better and not be so reactive in our daily life to thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. It invites us to stop, breathe, observe, and connect with one's inner experience. Mindfulness is not about feeling a particular state, or having a kind of experience. With mindfulness, we develop a quality of attention that can be present no matter what is happening. This will help us to have more peace, ease, and balance in our lives.
Jon Kabat-Zinn (the originator of the MBSR curriculum) describes mindfulness as an approach to life based on the understanding that “the present is the only time that any of us have to be alive – to know anything – to perceive – to learn – to act – to change – to heal”.
Research has shown mindfulness to significantly improve a wide range of conditions from borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders. It has shown to be helpful in the prevention of relapse with chronic depression and substance abuse.
Science has shown the importance of cultivating positive emotions for our general sense of well-being. Loving kindness is an excellent complement to the mindfulness practice. Loving kindness is a natural quality of our heart and mind that can be accessible at any moment. You can generate this quality by bringing to mind someone we love and feeling into our body what that sensation is like.
For more information or to take classes, please check UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center's website @ http://marc.ucla.edu
You can also download free guided meditations thru http://marc.ucla.edu or iTunes U