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What is mindfulness? Is it the same as meditation?

Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as:  "Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally." Meditation refers to a wide range of specific practices that can help to strengthen mindfulness.

How does mindfulness help people feel 

better or change unwanted behaviors?

Experiencing the present moment, both what is happening in our interior (thoughts, feelings, sensations) and exterior (behaviors, interactions, environment) worlds, gives us information that is vital to living a rich and satisfying life.  The practice of mindfulness is physically exercising our mind and ability to pay attention, like physically exercising muscles to strengthen and condition them, so that when challenges arise, we can respond effectively.

What does the term "mindful living" refer to?

I use the term "mindful living" to describe a commitment to bringing the present-moment awareness that is cultivated through meditation and other mindful activities to the challenges of everyday life.  It involves identifying and increasing attention to personal values - "what matters " - rather than becoming caught up in the challenges - unwanted thoughts, feelings, and events - that distract from living life in alignment with one's values.

We need to start over every day.

And sometimes many times each day.

Rabbi Nachman

Frequently Asked Questions