What Mindfulness is Not 2

Many people think mindfulness meditation is about “positive thinking.”  But it’s not about thinking at all. It’s about paying attention to thinking, no matter what the thoughts are.

It is also not a “relaxation technique.”  Even though we can become very relaxed while doing mindfulness meditation, that is only a side effect.  Instead, this practice increases awareness and reinforces staying in the present moment.

Mindfulness meditation is not about having a “quiet mind.”  I often hear people say that they can’t meditate because their mind is too busy.  The assumed goal is to have no thoughts.   Mindfulness meditation is about learning how to be present with what is, in the moment, whether it’s with a busy mind, or with a quiet mind.

It’s also not about having a “special experience.”  Experiences come and go in our lives.  It’s impossible to hold onto any one experience for an extended amount of time.  Instead, mindfulness meditation is about staying in the awareness of each experience, watching it come and then go.

And finally, mindfulness meditation is not a “selfish endeavor.”  If anything, it enables us to be more fully available and present to others. Instead of being rushed and preoccupied, mindfulness meditation can help us to be more helpful and compassionate.

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