Mindfulness helps us to become familiar with, be present with, interested in and curious about the mind – a constant, sustained investigation. Knowing what’s happening, when it’s happening, without changing or judging it. Mindfulness highlights our habits and patterns of behaviour, so that we can approach our relationships more skilfully, rather than react impulsively. We step away from the inner critic and life on autopilot to develop a deeper connection and intimacy with ourselves and others, and develop a trust our own inherent goodness.
Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist tradition as one element of the noble eightfold path that the Buddha described as a means to move towards liberation from suffering. It’s a training of the mind to see the true nature of body, feelings, perceptions and thoughts. Together with concentration and effort it constitutes meditation practice, which aims to lead to increased focus and insight. The basis for Buddhist philosophy is the acknowledgement that life is inherently stressful and things shift all the time. We don’t need to take this personally – these are simply characteristics of life.
There’s nothing innately religious about this philosophy and it forms the basis for widespread secular practices East and West.