The Art of Mindfulness
Sylvia Boorstein once wrote, “Mindfulness
is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present
experience. It isn't more complicated than that. It is
opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or
unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it
or rejecting it”.
How often we find ourselves not being present,
resisting the present moment when we dislike what we’re
Mindfulness entails being fully present. Mindfulness
requires being conscious of what is going on inside of
us as well as around us. Mindfulness means being aware
of what we are feeling and how our bodies are
Right now, take a moment to notice where you are placing
your attention. You may be reading these words yet also
aware of your environment. You might also be aware of
some mental chattering taking place. See if you can be
in touch with your inner self at the same time. Maintain
a portion of your focus within. Don’t let it all flow
out. Like a mighty tree, stay as deeply rooted within as
much as possible. You can practice this wherever you
are: standing in line, in a traffic delay, or waiting
for an appointment. In fact, waiting can become quite
enjoyable when practicing this technique.
I have also found this practice to be helpful when
listening to others. It allows me to be mindful and
provide deep listening, yet not "give away" all of my
energy. It's a wonderful way to maintain a healthy
energetic boundary. Investing our attention into the
past or onto the future drains our energy, and
eventually, we become energetically “bankrupt.” Our
subtle energy body loses life force, or prana, and our
emotional and physical bodies suffer as a result.
Buddhism, there are three spiritual powers that require
the art of mindfulness and have the capacity to generate
genuine happiness for ourselves and others.
first power is the ability to cut off our afflictions —
to sever our passions, hatred, and despair. Thich Nhat
Hanh states, “If we cannot cut off passion and hatred,
we cannot ever have happiness. We can learn concrete
practices to do this. Once we sever the ties of passion
and hatred that bind us, we become light and free and
second power is the power of insight — in Buddhism it is
called prajna. It is not the type of knowledge that we
gain by reading books or learning in school. Knowledge
can be helpful, but it can also become an obstacle. In
Buddhism the only real career of a practitioner is
insight. The insight of the Buddha and the boddhisattvas
— what is called enlightenment — has the capacity to
cultivate the qualities of compassion, loving kindness,
and altruistic joy.
third power in Buddhism is the capacity to forgive. When
we develop the capacity to accept and to love, we do not
need to hold onto resentments or be vindictive. Genuine
love manifests through the words we speak and the
compassionate way we look at another. In the Lotus
Sutra, the boddhisattva Avaloketisvara looks at all
beings with compassion. Looking at all beings through
the eyes of compassion is a wonderful way of behaving
like the bodhisattva.
As we move into autumn, I invite you to take time to
cultivate the art of mindfulness through the three
spiritual powers: releasing judgment and hatred, gaining
insight, and forgiving yourself and others. We can begin
this process by practicing being present in this very
moment. Henry Miller reminds us: "The moment one
gives close attention to anything, even a blade of
grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably
magnificent world in itself."
© Copyright 2009
Laura Grace. All Rights Reserved.
Read Laura's Past Columns:
- "Faith-in-it As You Make It"
Summer-Fall 2008 - "Spiritual Imagineering: A Celebration of Life"
Winter-Spring 2008 - "Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives"
Summer 2007- "Making Room for Love"
Winter 2006-'07 - "Life’s Deepest Meaning: Teach Only Love"
Summer-Autumn 2006 - "The Courage to Be Happy"
Jan-Apr 2006 - "Turning Mistakes into Lessons"
Oct-Dec 2005 - "Be Still"
July-Sept 2005 - "Balancing Your Wheel of Life"
- "Imaginary Borders"
2005 - "Witnessing the Truth About Your Life"
2004 - "Letting Go"
2004 - "Progressing with Passion"
2004 - "Deepening Your Spiritual Practice"
2004 - "Life's Crossroads: Love-vs-Fear"
January-February 2004 - "Faith the Foundation for Every
2003 Column - "Touching the Heart of Others"
2003 Column - "Knowing How to Care for Yourself"
2003 Column - "Dreaming a Happy Life"
2003 Column - "Living the Authentic Life"
2003 Column - "Rising Above the Battleground"
2003 Column - "Healing Through Your
2003 Column - "Are You Going with the Flow?"
2003 Column - "Living the Soulful Life"
2002 Column - "The Power to Change"
2002 Column - "Peace Begins at Home"
Column - "Spiraling to Higher Ground"
September 2002 Column - "Cradled in Nature's
August 2002 Column - "Recovering
Laura Grace is the Spiritual Leader of the Circle of Spiritual Enlightenment in Central Coast California, and a national author and speaker. Laura provides spiritual counseling and offers numerous workshops and retreats for awakening the heart
and spirit. She is also the author of the books Gifts of the Soul and The Intimate Soul and a syndicated columnist for more than twenty publications. Laura is the host of the show "Relationship Wisdom" on Public Access Television. Please visit Laura at:
As a spiritual counselor, Laura provides assistance in person and by phone. You may contact her for a free brochure at: