Guest Post by Karina Sanchez, Student
In Kabat-Zinn’s book “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” a discussion that really stood out to me came in the very beginning of the book, when the true definition of what mindfulness really is, was explained. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. So in simpler terms, it just means paying attention on purpose. It involves being conscious and aware. Although mindfulness involves a process of awareness, I do not think the two words/ideas are exactly synonymous. Just because you are aware of something, does not mean you are automatically being mindful of that something. For example, sometimes knowing that I am eating does not mean I am eating mindfully.
Further, my definition of mindfulness is similar to this idea. To me, to be mindful, first and foremost, is to be present in your own life and in your own mind. I think it’s very easy for us as humans to get lost in our own thoughts, feelings, actions, etc., but I think being mindful can slow this down and essentially help us out in the long run. Sometimes we are not really present in our own lives and we just do things without thinking. I know I often find myself just going through the motions, and doing things and living my life day to day based on routine, but if I can teach myself to be mindful of my surroundings and eventually of my own life in general, I think this could really bring a sense of peacefulness to my life.
To sum things up, I will end with a quote from “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” that I really think explains the idea of mindfulness very well: “Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.”