mind•ful•ness the quality or state of being present
Mindfulness is a practice and an art; one that we all struggle with. When I was first introduced to the concept, I was moved by the thought that the past is long gone, the future is uncertain, all you really have is now. My concept of mindfulness was encased in the definition above.
Aside from the challenge of being present to the now, I have struggled with the idea of always being present to it. If I am to stay in the present moment, Can I not plan for the future? Can I not contemplate the past in order to fix some mistake? Can I not fixate on a complex problem currently in my life, one of those that begs for generous time and thought, in order to come to a resolution? And if I do these things, am I not valuing my present? I have qualms with this sort of mindfulness. It’s unrealistic and infeasible for a person like me to be this sort of mindful all the time.
The definition is lacking, and what it lacks I found in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s description:
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”
This makes sense. Being mindful does not mean you must only focus on the present since all you have is now. Mindfulness means you are present to the fact that right now you are thinking about the past or the future. And furthermore, you are purposeful with your thoughts.
This practice of mindfulness is one I can and want to cultivate in my daily life. It envelopes awareness and purpose, and empowers me to choose how I spend my time.