Mindfulness is the inherent capability of human beings to be wholly present at any moment. To be mindful, one must be fully aware of where they are, what they are doing, how they are acting, and what they are thinking. A master of mindfulness will no longer be at the mercy of the whirling thoughts that normally occupy the mind, instead of being able to engage with the present moment in its entirety. Mindfulness is in essence a form of presence.
Finding Presence with Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is a unique practice that differs from some other common forms of meditation. Meditation in any form aims to enhance clarity of mind, focus, and emotional health. However, there are many branches of meditation that encourage the practitioner to actively attempt to ‘empty their mind.’
Focusing on emptiness certainly brings about the spaciousness that one needs to further a spiritual practice or to be fully present in their daily lives. However, mindfulness meditation - as a form of awareness meditation - encourages these developments while focusing on bringing awareness to the abundant sensation and thought that flows through an individual at any moment.
The Power of Meditation
This means that practicing mindfulness meditation grounds you in your body while simultaneously keeping you in a heightened state of mental awareness. Mindfulness practice encourages you to develop your faculty for sensory experiences - sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound - as well as bringing awareness to the different thoughts and feelings that arise in your brain.
Unlike emptiness meditation, mindfulness meditation encourages that you acknowledge your thoughts instead of pushing them into emptiness. They are treated as their own unique form of sensory experience. All sensory experiences, including the rising and falling of thoughts in the mind, should be noted and felt, but not labeled or held on to.
In this way, sounds, smells, sights, and thoughts can simply be observed as happenings in the field of awareness. Over time, this creates a non-judgmental observance of reality in which an individual can be more available and appreciative of what is currently being experienced at any moment.