awareness
    

Cultivating a generous spirit starts with
mindfulness.  Mindfulness, simply stated,
means paying attention to what is actually
happening; it's about what is really going on.

Nell Newman

  

You can't keep saying and doing the same things and expect better results.  When you see your behavior clearly you can frame new responses.  There are many techniques for increasing self-awareness.  Most involve mindfulness-- observing what's happening in the present moment:  your thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations.

Joan Duncan Oliver

      

If my happiness at this moment consists largely in reviewing happy memories and expectations, I am but dimly aware of this present.  I shall still be dimly aware of the present when the good things that I have been expecting come to pass.  For I shall have formed a habit of looking behind and ahead, making it difficult for me to attend to the here and now.  If, then, my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.

Alan Watts

  

Mindfulness can be summed up in two words:  pay attention.  Once you notice what you’re doing, you have the power to change it.

Michelle Burford

   

Mindfulness is being aware of yourself, others, and your surroundings in the moment.  When consciously and kindly focusing awareness on life as it unfolds minute by precious minute, you are better able to savor each experience.  Also, being closely attentive gives you the opportunity to change unwise or painful feelings and responses quickly.  In fact, being truly present in a mindful way is an excellent stress reducer and, because of that, can be seen as consciousness conditioning, a strengthening workout for body, mind, heart, and spirit.

Sue Patton Thoele

  

People are at their most mindful when they are at play.  If we find
ways of enjoying our work blurring the lines between
work and play the gains will be greater.

Ellen Langer

   

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Mindfulness makes our eyes, our heart, our non-toothache, the moon,
and the trees deep and beautiful.  And when we touch our suffering
with mindfulness, we begin to transform it.  Mindfulness is like a mother
holding her baby in her arms and caring for her baby’s pain.  When our
pain is held by mindfulness it loses some of its strength. . . . Mindfulness
recognizes what is there, and concentration allows you to be deeply
present with whatever it is.  Concentration is the ground of happiness.
If you live twenty-four hours a day in mindfulness
and concentration, one day is a lot.


Thich Nhat Hanh

    

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way;
on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

    

Try to be mindful, and let things take their natural course. Then your mind will
become still in any surroundings, like a clear forest pool. All kinds
of wonderful, rare animals will come to drink at the pool, and you will
clearly see the nature of all things. You will see many strange and
wonderful things come and go, but you will be still.

Ajahn Chah

   awareness

Mindfulness is not just a word or a discourse by the Buddha, but a
meaningful state of mind. It means we have to be here now, in this
very moment, and we have to know what is happening internally and
externally. It means being alert to our motives and learning to change
unwholesome thoughts and emotions into wholesome ones.
Mindfulness is a mental activity that in due course eliminates all suffering.

Ayya Khema
   

Mindfulness of oneself cultivates wisdom.
Mindfulness of others cultivates compassion.

Stonepeace

  

Mindfulness is knowing what you are experiencing while you are
experiencing it.  It is a moment-to-moment awareness, has the
quality of being in the now, a sense of freedom, of perspective,
of being connected, not judging.

Guy Armstrong

  

   
Mindfulness is a way of being present:  paying attention to and
accepting what is happening in our lives.  It helps us to be aware
of and step away from our automatic and habitual reactions
to our everyday experiences.

Elizabeth Thornton
  

Mindfulness is a quality that's always there.  It's an illusion that there's
a meditation and post-meditation period, which I always find amusing,
because you're either mindful or you're not.

Richard Gere

   

Do we ever question the need to brush our teeth?  Or say, "today I do not have
time for brushing teeth?"  Can we go a week without brushing?  What that would
be like?  Please imagine it right now.  How will the mouth and teeth feel?  Do we
believe if we brush teeth we will never need a dentist?  And how about putting in
a comparable amount of time, energy and regular practice to keep the mind clear,
fresh, and refreshed?  Or regularly brushing and clearing the mind from harmful
residue?  I view Mindfulness as a way of maintaining mental hygiene the same way
brushing is needed for dental hygiene.  And, from time to time, we may even
need professional help for best results.

Rezvan Ameli

    

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The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.
When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.


Thich Nhat Hanh
   

Was there ever a time when you felt suddenly alive?  It was like the doors
of the world opened for a minute and you could see directly into life.
You were able to touch life directly and were not lost in your fears
and worries.  This experience may not have been during a big event like
performing in a play or playing in a championship game; it may have been while
walking in the woods or talking to a friend.  All of a sudden you felt alive, awake.
This quality of waking up, or penetrating into life, we could call mindfulness.
Mindfulness simply means being aware, being present.  When you are breathing
and know that you are breathing, that is mindfulness of breathing.

Soren Gordhamer

   

Living mindlessly . . . takes an enormous toll.  What we get from each
moment depends on the attention we give it, and the quality of our
experience reflects the quality of our awareness.

Roger Walsh

    
   
Mindfulness is the quality of fullness of attention, immediacy,
non-distraction.  In that sense, it is the key to life.

Sharon Salzberg
  

Life is a dance.  Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.

Amit Ray

    

A few years ago, I sat on my son's bedroom floor folding some baby clothes
that he'd outgrown.  I could feel the sadness and regret creeping in, but
I wanted so badly to feel OK about the passage of time.  I quickened my pace
to push the pain away.  I wanted the moment to be over.  Suddenly, though,
I looked up and notices a very blue sky staring down through the window.  Just
feel it, I said to myself, as I slowed down, trying to focus on the task in front of me.
I held a shirt close to my face and inhaled as deeply as I could.  My heart seemed to
crack and fill up at the same time as feelings of hope and loss collided right there in
a pile of little boy's old clothes.  When I finally got up to leave the room, I wasn't
sad anymore.  Instead, I thought about the miraculous growth of a child, whose
shirt size is less about loss and more about the gift of life itself.

I don't know if you can live inside each and every moment.  But when you can, try
to stop, look, and listen long enough to be right where you are, not in your past,
not in your future.  Just right in the middle of a split second in time.

Leslie Levine

    

     
Articles and book excerpts on mindfulness:

Living in the Moment      Susan L. Taylor
Mindfulness of This Moment      Jon Kabat-Zinn

The River of Feelings      Thich Nhat Hanh

from The Te of Piglet      Benjamin Hoff

The Fourth Tuesday:  We Talk about Death      Mitch Albom

I'd Pick More Daisies      Don Herold

I Just Don't See It      Gail Pursell Elliott

I Was Wondering      Beth Burns

Lessons from a Spider      Asoka Selvarajah

Listen Closely. . . .      tom walsh

Living in the Moment      Paul Bauer

Morning Pages      Asoka Selvarajah

Nourishing Awareness in Each Moment      Thich Nhat Hanh

Simple Pleasures      T.W. Winslow

The Teachers in My Life      tom walsh

What Happened?      Julie Jordan Scott
Undivided Attention     tom walsh
What Is Your Life Telling You?    Helaine Iris
Brighten the World (Bit by Bit)       tom walsh
The Art of Living with Ourselves      Wilferd A. Peterson

   
I am learning slowly to bring my crazy pinball-machine mind back to this
place of friendly detachment toward myself, so I can look out at the world
and see all those other things with respect.  Try looking at your mind as a
wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train.  You don’t drop-kick
a puppy into the neighbor’s yard every time it piddles on the floor.  You
just keep bringing it back to the newspaper.  So I keep trying gently to
bring my mind back to what is really there to be seen, maybe
to be seen and noted with a kind of reverence.

Anne Lamott
   

While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes, which means
one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes.
At first glance, that might seem a little silly.  Why put so much stress on a simple
thing?  But that’s precisely the point.  The fact that I am standing there and washing
these bowls is a wondrous reality.  I am completely myself, following my breath,
conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions.  There’s
no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped
here and there on the waves.

Thich Nhat Hanh

   

Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now
without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without
holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant
without fearing it will always be this way (which it won't).

James Baraz

    

I'm a simple person; I belong to an era different from the one you
belong to:  if something's white, I say it's white; if it's black, I say
black.  The ability to resolve problems comes from everyday
experience, from seeing things as they really are and not the way
someone else says they should be.  As soon as we begin to jettison
the ballast, to eliminate whatever doesn't belong to us, whatever
comes from outside, we're already on the right track.

Susanna Tamaro

  

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.

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Wherever You Go, There You Are

awareness

When we perform an act mindfully--be it meditating, vacuuming
or playing Scrabble with a child--we nourish ourselves, as well.
Rather than scattering our concentration on a dozen things at
once, we focus.  We slow down.  We give ourselves time to calm
down from the inside out and the luxury of saying:  Nothing is
more important right now than this moment, this deed. 
We
may not get as much done by day's end, but we can feel more
peaceful and satisfied with the work itself.  That's a good way
to think of it:  Mindfulness is quality time for the soul.

Shana Aborn

   

Today, walking along the beach, I spotted a rock, slick and shiny.
It attracted my attention, and I picked it up.  But on closer inspection
it turned out to be shiny because it was wet.  As it dried, the rock
became ordinary.  It was just a rock.  I was disappointed at first, and
I almost threw it away.  But the rock had been wonderfully smoothed
by the sand and the waves.  Although it was merely a plain rock
ground smooth by the elements, it turned out to be worth keeping,
even treasuring.
   I found another rock as I walked the beach today.  It, too, had been
ground down and polished by reality.  It had no sharp edges
anymore.  When I walk too fast I miss these small, smooth rocks
that so fascinate me.  They are my cousins, somehow, models of what
I would like to become.  But here I am now.

David K. Reynolds

    

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Willingly greeting our fears and weaknesses with openness, acceptance,
and respect is one of the hardest tasks mindfulness asks of us and one
of the most freeing practices we can undertake.  Sitting in stillness with
our sorrow and shame, our fear and judgment laid bare is an act of courage.

Sue Patton Thoele

   

Many people pass through these things each day of their lives on their way to
work, or driving in the country, and never notice the birds, or the clouds
floating across the sky, or the flowers by the roadside.  They are too
preoccupied with business matters or with personal problems to notice
anything outside themselves.  They travel through life as if it were a dark
tunnel.  This is unfortunate.

Joseph F. Girzone
Never Alone

  

Carefully observe the natural laws in operation in the world around
you, and live by them.  From following them, you will learn the morality
of modesty, moderation, compassion, and consideration (not just one
society’s rules and regulations), the wisdom of seeing things as they
are (not of merely collecting “facts” about them), and the happiness of
being in harmony with the Way (which has nothing to do with self-
righteous “spiritual” obsessions and fanaticism).  And you will live
lightly, spontaneously, and effortlessly.

Benjamin Hoff
The Te of Piglet

   

  
From the porch one observes the simple rhythms of daily life:  the
neighbor setting out the garbage in the early morning, the woman
from the next street who regularly walks her little dog just after
suppertime, the school-age boys exercising prowess in bicycling,
the elderly widow receiving a rare visit from an in-law, the business-
like drivers of passing cars whose faces mirror their intent
to get where they are going.

On the porch one hears the sounds that surround us--the worried
chirping of jays hovering over a nest, the cries of a waking baby
across the street, the approaching bell of the ice cream man's truck,
distant sirens from the city, the neighborhood dogs whose resonant
barks carry airborne canine conversations well over
the barrier of fenced-in yards.

Seated upon the porch one finds it unnecessary to comment upon or
analyze what one sees and hears.  It is enough that it is.  Being is not
something to be taken for granted or overlooked but something to be
breathed in and celebrated with sweet contentment and a grateful heart.

Wendy Wright
  

Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present
experience.  It isn't more complicated than that.  It is opening to
or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as
it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.

Sylvia Boorstein

  

Mindfulness in its most general sense is about waking up from a life
on automatic, and being sensitive to novelty in our everyday experience.

Daniel J. Siegel

   

   

  

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