Mindfulness is the seventh aspect of the Eightfold Path. Through mindfulness, we develop awareness of all phenomena coming and going. We develop a kind and spacious mind by cultivating mental qualities of: awareness (recognizing what is true right here and now), interest (penetrating with awareness what is true) and acceptance without dependence or clinging (without taking experience on as an identity). In this way, our mindfulness practice is not superficial—it is penetrating.
We see what is here, now, with a kind and penetrating mind, neither craving the pleasant nor rejecting the unpleasant. Even if a sense of struggle or tension arises, such reactivity is a worthy new object. Taking the struggle as our present moment object of mindfulness, we know its bodily sensations, the feeling (pleasant/unpleasant) of it, the stories around it. Perhaps we can see we have become caught up in expectation, with too much effort or striving, wanting the experience of the moment to be different from what it actually is. We approach our experience with openness and kindness. We soften the mind and penetrate the experience. Every experience is worthy of mindfulness.
In his discourse on mindfulness, the Buddha says explicitly that mindfulness (direct contemplation of body, feelings, mind and specific categories of mental qualities and experience) is the direct path to the “realization of Nibbana, for the purification of beings, surmounting of sorrow and lamentation, and the disappearance of discontent…” This encourages me to understand mindfulness and practice diligently. How about you?