The Meaning of Mindful - What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness written on a card standing against the window


A calming word for calming thoughts.

You may have heard that the practice of Mindful Meditation Exercise can help you with overcoming your fears and show you the way to emotional fulfillment.

But what does Mindfulness mean exactly?

Where does it come from and how does it work?

This article will help you to learn more about its origins and techniques so you can start living life to the fullest yourself and enjoy a calming sense of inner peace.

If you're more the learning by doing type, you should definitely have a look at our Practical Mindfulness Practice Guide first.

Get a hands on experience first and then come back to learn about it's inner workings.

We'd also like to take the opportunity to give credit to the ones that taught us all we know and share in our articles. Our Review section is filled with tons of book assessments about your journey to inner peace.

Our Best Mindfulness Books ~ Top 5 for Beginners compilation might be of special interest for anyone reading this article.

The origins of Mindfulness

The word Mindfulness represents the First Factor of Enlightenment.

It is derived from the word sati, which has its roots in Buddhism and stands for Awareness.

You may also refer to it as the Seventh Element on the Noble Eightfold Path, samma-sati or "right" Mindfulness.

It's name depends on the form of specific Buddhism practice you're indulging yourself in.

However, it doesn't really matter how you call it or which way of enlightenment you're pursuing.

Different Buddhist teachings might deviate in tradition but all of them pursue the same goal: the liberation of your self and the soul.

They typically also respect each others views.

The Meaning of Mindfulness

Mindfulness describes the practice of being fully present in any moment, intentionally paying attention and bringing awareness to your thoughts and feelings without judging.

It is a mandatory skill on your way to fulfillment, breaking free of the endless cycle of pain and suffering through rebirth (Samsara).

Regular or even occasional practice of Mindful Meditation can sharpen a multitude of skills including stress management, the ability to pay attention or coping with (intense) negative emotions by increasing focus and awareness.

It's practices today are commonly used in psychology to alleviate a variety of mental disorders and conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress or drug addiction.

Check out this article if you want to learn more about the Benefits of Mindfulness and how they can help to alleviate all sorts of suffering.

Mindfulness lets you choose your life

Think of Samsara as a credit point system, where Karma is your credit card.

Whenever you're taking an action, you're getting credited an amount of either good or bad Karma points.

As soon as you die - this can be in either the literal or a more spiritual sense - the time for reckoning comes.

Based on your Karma credit count, your soul gets transferred to a new form of life.

All in all there are 6 forms of life, half of them can be viewed as good and half of them bad.

The good ones are filled with joy while the bad ones are likely to inflict more suffering and pain.

Which form of life you're reborn into gets decided by your Karma points.

If your Karma is very good, you could reach the pinnacle of fulfillment and live a life among the gods while a particular bad Karma count can condemn you to hell or have you ever-wandering around as a hungry ghost.

Buddhism therefore generally focuses on gaining rebirth in the good realms, avoiding the bad ones

Mindfulness gives you the power to control your actions and guide your Karma point credits in the right direction.

How Mindfulness empowers you to control Samsara

Practicing Mindful Engagement prevents the formation of new negative thoughts and emotions or cravings that can fuel future rebirths with the infliction of pain.

It gives you the power to be fully aware of everything that's taking place with a clear comprehension without judging.

When mindful, feelings of hatred and cravings have been overcome.

Your mind has learned how feelings arise and disappear and is finally able to control them.

After all, those feelings don't define you. You're just experiencing them

Realizing this is a key concept in Mindful Meditation.

Basic Mindfulness Practice Steps

This is usually accomplished by following a simple step-by-step guideline:

Step #1 ~ Pause.

Allow yourself some time to take in what's happening.

Step #2 ~ Acknowledge

Open up to all the feelings or really anything you're experiencing.

The purpose is not to mute your thoughts but to get aware of them!

Step #3 ~ Reflect and Accept

What sensation can you observe within your body and your mind?

Are you feeling discomfort? Accept it!

And let it pass!

The exercises won't eliminate your stresses or make you never get angry again.

They will let you become aware of unpleasant thoughts and emotions while they're happening and equip you with a choice.

Step #4 - You are your choices

Remember that you're the captain of your ship - no matter what.

You are the one that gives the directions of where to sail off to.

Just because everything else is moving fast and in opposite directions doesn't mean you have to follow.

Of course, some things need to get act on accordingly so you might have to adjust your sailing route a bit.

But you're still allowed to reflect on the world and the things that are passing by to engage with them in a healthy way, stating your beliefs by reacting with your honest response.

Stopping - slowing down for a moment and taking the time needed to reflect on you're feeling instead of fighting them - empowers you to work with your emotions to create the reality you dream of.

How can I learn to be Mindful

The skill of Mindfulness is mostly developed through Meditation.

It is no temporary sensation you can only experience by actively participating in it's practices.

Meditation is just the training ground for learning Mindfulness.

At first, you practice it to familiarize yourself with the moment - The Now - for a short period of time.

Regular practice will sharpen your awareness over time.

The more you do it, the easier it gets for you to start slowing down, accepting and reflecting before moving forward, training yourself how to handle your emotions and how to deal with stress.

You can find tons of different practical examples which only take a couple of minutes and can also be incorporated back to back into anyone's daily routine in our 1-Minute Mindfulness Meditation Exercise Series.

If you're still unsure about the differences between the Meaning of Mindfulness and the Definition of Meditation , check out this helpful article.

If you're interested in learning more about the Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation, we'd like to pass the ball on to authors listed in one of our Top Book Lists on this Topic. They are the experts. Credit where credit is due!

We've also compiled some Best Mindfulness Book Lists depending on common personal situations for the ones that don't like to browse through a lot of Review articles themselves