What is Mindfulness?

The practice of mindfulness, defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn, is “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

Our attention is multifaceted. When we are studying, involved in a sport, practicing a musical instrument or painting a scene, our mind is focused and our body is engaged with the activity. We are “in sync”- in body, mind and spirit. Typically, we spend 50% of our mental activity ruminating on the past and predicting the future. This is how our brain is wired- how our brain evolved over millennia- keeping us safe using our senses and past experiences to anticipate danger and improving our chances of survival. 21st Century minds must deal with a fast-paced, technologically driven environment where our attention is pulled from being present in the moment by our cell phones, emails, meetings, newscasts and ads. Mindfulness settles our minds and focuses our attention. Mindfulness serves us well in today’s world.

Olympic Peninsula Mindfulness offers classes and activities to assist you in exploring, creating and maintaining mindful awareness and meditation in everyday life. Explore the Forest Bathing and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction classes.

Poet Mary Oliver describes mindfulness in

A Summer Day”

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean– the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-‐
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should l have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Grasshopper resting on a finger