Background of Mindfulness


Mindfulness (Satti in ancient Pali language) is a concept which is drawn from ancient Eastern Buddhist teaching. It is an approach to living life moment by moment with the non-judgmental attitude. There are set of practices which are commonly referred as Mindfulness Awareness Practices (MAPs).

These are activities or some form of practices (such as mindfulness breathing) that are used to cultivate the mindfulness. Several studies have shown that such mindfulness practice improves one's cognitive functions, the quality of life and positively impacts some parts the brain if it is practiced for a considerable time. Unlike the commonly mistaken notion, mindfulness is not to remember or memorize. Instead, it is to pay attention to the present. You are mindful when you are aware that you are aware. In another word, it is meta- awareness, awareness of awareness. For example, while you are reading this line, are you aware that you are aware of each word that you read. When you are holding a newspaper while reading, are you aware that you are holding a newspaper? The sensation of holding the newspaper is there all the time, but you are not aware of it all the time. So, mindfulness is being aware of the sensation and at the same time being aware that you are aware of that sensation. That is what has mentioned above as meta-awareness. It is a quite simple concept at the outset, yet it becomes tedious task to practice. You might have heard about Vipassana. It is one among many forms of practices of mindfulness. In fact, vipassana is a state of clarity achieved with the help of a set of practices that combines concentration and mindful-observation. Annapansatti is one of the most popular MAPs (is also practice during Vipassana) where an individual sits in mindfulness posture and observe the breathing-in and breathing-out. Mindfulness posture can be loosely defined as calm and composed posture commonly seated cross-legged by observing noble silence.