The 9 Foundational Attitudes of Mindfulness
This is the first of a series of blogs looking at the foundational attitudes of sustained and effective mindfulness practice.
Intention, practice and attitude
There are three elements to living mindfully, intention, practice and the attitude we bring to our practice. These are beautifully summed up in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s early definition of mindfulness;
“Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
Paying attention in a particular way, in the present moment, is the basis of formal and informal mindfulness practice. On purpose is the intention to practice and non-judgement is one of the nine attitudes which deepen our practice. The incorporation of all three elements cultivates our moment by moment awareness in everyday life. We become more present. Intention is why we do it, practice is what we do and attitude is how we do it.
There is a growing body of evidence and scientific research demonstrating the many benefits of regular mindfulness practice. There are now a plethora of books and apps and online resources available to learn and develop mindfulness practice. Regular practice can improve our well being and our relationships with others. Mindful Therapies provide courses and classes in the North East of England for anyone wishing to develop their mindfulness practice with others.
Every conscious action we take begins with an intention whether to make a cup of tea or or land on the moon. Our intentions are fueled by our motivation – to quench our thirst or to go where no man has gone before and our belief. We are generally motivated to benefit ourselves and/or others. Awareness of our motivation and beliefs reinforces our intentions and leads to action. To live mindfully we must therefore set the intention to practice moment by moment awareness.
Jon Kabat-Zinn describes 9 foundational attitudes of mindfulness. These can be applied to our meditation practice, but can also be applied to our lives more broadly. They are as follows:
There are lots of overlaps between these attitudes. In a sense they represent different facets. Over the coming weeks I will go into some depth about each of these attitudes, reflecting on their impact on my own practice. In the meantime you can check out Jon Kabat-Zinn explaining the attitudes in these videos:
9 attitudes with Jon Kabat-Zinn