Vidyamala defines mindfulness this way:

"Living in the moment, noticing what is happening and making choices in how you respond to your experience rather than being driven by habitual reactions."

Mindfulness is simply awareness. It’s the awareness that gives you the power to know what your mind is doing, and being really present for that experience.

Why is that useful?

We spend a lot of time using our minds in ways that make us unhappy; going around in circles thinking about worries, bad memories, self-critical thoughts, and so on. Our minds can get stuck on thoughts or beliefs that aren’t true, and totally blow things out of proportion.

We can spend a long time - our whole lives! - using our minds in this way, because we don’t have the awareness to notice what we’re doing, and that we have an alternative.

With mindfulness, we have the power to notice thoughts, perceptions, judgements, and beliefs, and say "Do I want to give my energy and attention to this? Or is there a different way to be using my mind in this moment which is more helpful and will make me happier?"

Another way to say the same thing is that you learn to respond - rather than react. 

When you are mindful, you have the awareness that allows you to respond consciously, rather than react automatically. This is so simple, but it’s an extraordinary power that can radically transform your life and your mind.


Compassion, connectedness, and kindness are also central to all our mindfulness programmes, and are so good for our health and wellbeing. Learning to treat ourselves with the sort of warmth, acceptance, and compassion that we would show to a friend is one of the things that makes mindfulness practice so valuable and transformative.

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