When we stop and pay attention, we realize how little we pay attention. When we practice Right Mindfulness, we are training our minds to be present and aware so that we can choose to fully engage this moment.

 

By Daniel Scharpenburg

“Mindfulness is helpful everywhere” ~ the Buddha

When we say mindfulness, we’re really just talking about being here, experiencing this moment, rather than being somewhere else mentally.

It’s a mind that experiences and observes what’s happening, but also doesn’t get dragged out of the moment by judgments or reflections. The word that’s translated as mindfulness is sati, and it has connotations with memory, i.e., remembering to be here now. It involves being able to be fully present and also having an awareness of what’s going on around us.

How often are we really in this moment? We spend an incredible amount of time dwelling on the past, obsessing about the future, or checking our phones. When we stop and pay attention, we realize how little we pay attention. When we practice Right Mindfulness, we are training our minds to be present and aware so that we can choose to fully engage this moment. So often the experiences we have trigger thoughts that take us away from the experience we are having. So, we want to train to be more mindful so that we can face reality as it is.

That’s what we’re talking about when we talk about training in mindfulness: when we’re able to be fully present, we tend to notice more about the world and our place in it.

The book Basics of Buddhism defines Right Mindfulness this way:

“Right Mindfulness (or Right Attention) means being attentive, mindful, and aware of our bodily actions, sensations and feelings, and the activity of our mind. It means giving our full attention to that which is positive, life-affirming, and beneficial to other beings. In accord with Right Mindfulness, our awareness is where it should be, completely attentive to what is happening within us and around us at the present moment.”

That’s what Right Mindfulness is about. Being here.

 

Photo: Pixabay

Editor: John Lee Pendall

 

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Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel lives in Kansas City. He's a Teacher in the Dharma Winds Zen Tradition and he regularly teaches at the Open Heart Project. As a lay Zen Priest, his focus is on spreading the teachings of wisdom and compassion while living in ordinary life.

Find out more about Daniel here and connect with him on Facebook

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