Read the new & improved version of this post: The Eightfold Path: Right Mindfulness
Right Mindfulness is the second practice in Mental Discipline on the Eightfold Path and involves being aware of the present moment with a clear focus. Right Mindfulness applies across the whole path and in every practice we’ve looked at so far. It is also sometimes called Right Attention or Right Awareness.
The principle of mindfulness is very simple but that doesn’t mean it is easy. The idea is to pay attention to whatever it is you’re doing without judging or interpreting, and without any unnecessary thought chatter.
Lost in Thought
Most of us spend most of our time living in our heads. We ruminate over problems, things we should have said or done, things we shouldn’t have said or done, things we’d like to say or do. We worry over things that may never happen, and go over and over things already done that we can no longer change.
We rarely live in the present moment.
Mindfulness brings our attention back to what is right in front of us and enables us to be less distracted. We can then see what is really needed in any situation and act appropriately.
Sometimes when we realise how out of control our thinking has become, we think we have to stop thinking altogether. But mindfulness isn’t about sitting with an empty head contemplating nothing.
Thought isn’t the enemy. Mindless thought is.
Right Mindfulness is about cultivating mindful thought as much as mindful action or mindful speech. With the correct use of mindfulness you will be able to remain present and focused on whatever arises. Through mediation you can develop stillness and equanimity which allows the true nature of reality to be revealed in all its glory.
Next time: Right Concentration