What is Mindfulness? We read and discusssed an article that unpacks its many meanings in classical Buddhism, for example:
Mindfulness does not just mean being aware or being conscious, because one is always conscious when not comatose or dead. Consciousness is the fundamental quality of mind, understood as an event that occurs rather than a thing that exists. As such, it is always present when any kind of experience takes place. If mindfulness meant to be aware, then we would always be mindful, automatically, in all circumstances.
What we arrived at was this:
- Being aware is not mindfulness
- Paying attention is not mindfulness
- Paying attention on purpose and sustaining that attention is not mindfulness
All of these are necessary but not sufficient. What's missing?
Mindfulness is an inherently wholesome or healthy mental factor, so it cannot function at any moment when the mind is under the influence of greed or hatred, even in their mildest versions of favoring and opposing. Anytime you want or don’t want things be a certain way, the mind is not being mindful.
Mindfulness requires a thoroughgoing equanimity. This does not mean you don’t care or are indifferent to what is happening, only that the mind is evenly balanced and fully aware of things exactly as they are, without the desire to change them by favoring one thing or opposing another.
You can read the whole article here.