What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something. We can be mindful of brushing our teeth, mindful of walking down the street, mindful of the sound of our cellphone, or of our breathing.

Mindfulness means to live in awareness and not forgetfulness. Mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness of our own breath, body and mind, and of what is going on around us. Living mindfully we are nourished by what we discover in the present moment—the wonders of life that we had not appreciated before—and we have a chance to take gentle care of any tension or pain we notice. We are not weighed down by thoughts about the past, nor carried away by anxieties or fears about the future. We are fully available to life, and can generate the space and clarity we need to handle difficult situations, decisions or emotions. Developing habits of mindfulness in our daily life brings freshness, peace and joy, and enables us to live our life deeply.

For more information on the art of mindful living, you may visit the Plum Village website, or see these bestseller books by Thich Nhat Hanh:

The Miracle of Mindfulness (a classic manual with many editions, first pub. 1976)
Peace is Every Step (1991)
Anger: Buddhist Wisdom for Cooling the Flames (2001) 

To go deeper into specific mindfulness exercises as studied and practiced at Plum Village, you may like to read Thich Nhat Hanh’s books:

Happiness (2009)
Transformation and Healing: The Four Establishments of Mindfulness (2006)
Breathe! You are alive: The Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing (1992)

Why mindfulness?

Mindfulness, practiced in the Buddhist tradition for over 2,500 years, has in the 21st Century become a scientifically-proven way to ease stress, anxiety, depression and physical pain. Research has been pioneered by neuroscientist Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin, and there are now several dedicated Mindfulness Research Centers, for example at UCLA and the University of Massachusetts. In the UK, the Oxford Mindfulness Centre was established in 2007 under the auspices of the University of Oxford and the NHS to further the research of Professor Mark Williams. Mindfulness methods have now been integrated into healthcare settings and developed by healthcare professionals and psychologists to deal with a wide range of suffering, including chronic pain, stress-related physical problems, emotional conditions, depressions, addictions and anxieties.