What is mindfulness?

English Mindfulness course given by native-speaker Justin Cooper in Amsterdam

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention, of being deeply attuned to yourself, your environment and those around you. It is a natural state of mind, focused and aware. Rooted in the ancient Buddhist art of meditation, mindfulness can be learned and practised by anyone, no matter what their religious or cultural background.

Mindfulness involves a formal practice and an informal practice. In formal practice we take time for sitting meditation or mindful movement practices like walking meditation or yoga. Informal practice is a way of life in which we meditate as we do what we do.

It involves being present IN the moments of our lives. You must be present to love, or experience peace, or joy, or contentment. When you are here you can have the experience of your life.

Mindfulness involves being in each moment as it is without judgment or striving and having a kind of releasement towards things. It’s a relaxed state of awareness that observes both your inner world of thoughts, feelings and sensations, and the outer world of constantly changing phenomena without trying to control anything.

How can mindfulness make a difference?

The average person has approximatley 45,000 thoughts each day, of which the majority are the same as the thoughts you had yesterday. This a rather unnerving statistic but one which underlines the fact that we are creatures of habit. Because we’re only dimly aware of our thoughts, they wander in an unrestricted way. For example, when we are driving a car, we often drive for miles on end without really being aware of what we are doing. It is as if we are functioning on ‘autopilot’.

This also applies to our lives in general – we are not really ‘there’ during big chunks of our lives. We can be miles away without being aware of it. When we do things on autopilot we are inclined to get caught up in old thinking and behavioural patterns related to the past which propel us into fretting about the future. These patterns can easily lead to a negative spiral of thoughts and feelings. This inevitabley results in more stress.

By becoming more aware of our thoughts and feelings, both physically and emotionally, from moment to moment, we can de-stress, re-balance and reconnect. Mindfulness invites us to do this in a kind and loving way.

Mindfulness practice is ideal for cultivating greater awareness of the unity of mind and body, as well as of the ways the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can undermine emotional, physical, and spiritual health. The mind is known to be a factor in stress and stress-related disorders, and meditation has been shown to positively effect a range of autonomic physiological processes, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing overall arousal and emotional reactivity.

Mindfulness is a lifetime engagement not to get somewhere else, but to be where and as we actually are in this very moment, whether the experience is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.

Links to other ‘Mindfulness’ pages

Mindfulness course
Startdates and location
Individual course

Page 1 of 11