What is Mindfulness?

What is Mindfulness?

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” – Kabat-Zinn

1. Paying attention “on purpose”

First of all, mindfulness involves paying attention “on purpose”. Mindfulness involves a conscious direction of our awareness. We sometimes talk about “mindfulness” and “awareness” as if they were interchangeable terms, but that’s not a good habit to get into. I may be aware I’m irritable, but that wouldn’t mean I was being mindful of my irritability. In order to be mindful I have to be purposefully aware of myself, not just vaguely and habitually aware. Knowing that you are eating is not the same as eating mindfully.

2. Paying attention “in the present moment”

Left to itself the mind wanders through all kinds of thoughts — including thoughts expressing anger, craving, depression, revenge, self-pity, etc. As we indulge in these kinds of thoughts we reinforce those emotions in our hearts and cause ourselves to suffer. Mostly these thoughts are about the past or future. The past no longer exists. The future is just a fantasy until it happens. The one moment we actually can experience — the present moment — is the one we seem most to avoid.

3. Paying attention “non-judgmentally”

Mindfulness is an emotionally non-reactive state. We don’t judge that this experience is good and that one is bad. Or if we do make those judgments we simply notice them and let go of them. We don’t get upset because we’re experiencing something we don’t want to be experiencing or because we’re not experiencing what we would rather be experiencing. We simply accept whatever arises. We observe it mindfully. We notice it arising, passing through us, and ceasing to exist.

Whether it’s a pleasant experience or a painful experience we treat it the same way.

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Daily Progress

Daily Progress

With all the reverence of your soul invoke God’s presence, for He is the essence of everything. Ignorant or wise, we are His children. Pray to Him to make you realize that you are immortal. Follow the highway of meditative communion that leads to Him, live each day in reverent accord with God’s laws, and He who guides the destiny of the world — including your own destiny — will plan your tomorrow for you according to your acts of today. Work for the establishment of one universal law, one freedom, one brotherhood, and communion with the one God. Make each day a step upward on the ladder of your realization of His wisdom and joy.

Lucky Number 9: Dreams

People who have nine as their lucky number never, ever stop weaving their dreams…
If you live with your heart open, fear becomes an adventure…

I was ready, I guess. At least I was of age. In many ways, I had less than most—living on the rubber plantation, saving pennies for food, fighting for floor space by the window, never seeing Father, tapping trees at dawn with Mother. And then there was my arm: I would be leaving home with a terrible secret hidden under the sleeve of my blouse…


But I was leaving with a good education. I had people rooting for my success. I had a strong foundation in several faiths. I was a hard worker, and honesty came easy. I did not have much of an ego left, but that would later prove to be advantageous. I had birds of paradise, monkeys swinging from trees, the roosters crowing at dawn. I had sunshine, and warm rain on my cheeks reminding me that life is about moments. The shiny rubber tree seeds in my pocket represented the power and beauty of growth.

Mostly, I was leaving with Mother’s voice in my heart; it made me feel safe, as safe as a girl with only one good arm could feel….

I had an incredible childhood, if you think about it. I literally won the lotto when it came to school. And those diamonds in my pocket were priceless to me. They were the reason I had anything at all. My arm brought panic, but sports changed my life. When I threw the shot putt, no one stared at the scars on my arm. Their eyes followed the path of the ball. And then they cheered. They always cheered more loudly than I thought my throw deserved.

My childhood has been blessed.

It’s all perspective, I guess…


And when I left my mother’s arms, I felt joy and freedom. And “this girl” who made all Cs in school found more success than she ever could have dreamed.

Despite my rather busy career life, I threw myself into extra-curricular traveling activities, too. I have hiked Mount Bromo in Indonesia; Mount Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Mount Sinai, Isreal; Monte Limbara, Sardinia. I took a Viking Cruise from Sweden to Norway and Finland. I cruised along the Yangzi River in China; the Nile River in Egypt; Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; Niagara Falls, Canada; Galapagos Islands, the Equator, and the Amazon River in Peru. I went scuba diving in Sipadan, both east and west of Malaysia, and in San Lucas in the Caribbean. I learned to surf in Hawaii and in California. I took a Sand, Surf & Air Balloon ride to watch the sun set and rise in Dubai. I enjoyed formal Tea Tastings in Sri Lanka, England, and Mount Wu Yi Shan in China. I learned to ski and hit the slopes in Australia, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Prague, and America. With a pack on my back, I traveled all over the world. I bungee jumped into Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe in Africa. Also, and this is the best, I parachuted out of a plane from 20,000 feet at Perris Lake, California.
But I was always searching, for something, for peace—in the jungles of Malaysia, the Sistine Chapel, and the Krishna Temple. I chased after it in marathons in Hong Kong, Europe, and Malaysia. It wasn’t on that Viking boat. I prayed in the temple in Sri Lanka, but didn’t find it there. Prague? Berlin? They were fascinating. I’m so blessed, but life was not still when I visited those places. That came gradually.

“Peace starts from within in the hearts of each of us.” Gandhi said that. It was the Father of India’s message to the world. Each one of us has an opportunity to make the world a better place. Everyone can make a difference. It brings me great peace to visit this temple and see the shrine to Gandhi. And I like to meditate in the temple and feel the serene energy on the lake too. I look forward to my daily meditations. I have found balance, and it anchors my soul. At last I have found my way home.

Whether I am with my Buddhist mother, or my Jewish husband, or with the Headmistress at the Catholic Convent School, I am one with everyone, as they are with me, as we are all one with the Source. It’s a very free way of thinking. I don’t know that it’s for everyone. I just know it’s for me.


Even though we were poor, those six years at Chinese school took that feeling of wanting away. For starters I was too busy to think about my secondhand shoes. Education helped my self-esteem immensely. And the school had this grand church bell announcing a new day. It should have been at the top of Notre Dame Cathedral, this magnificent bell, not at my little school. I can still hear it today: music to my ears.



Do not take life’s experiences too seriously. Above all, do not let them hurt you, for in reality they are nothing but dream experiences. Play your part in life, but never forget it is only a role. If circumstances are bad and you have to bear them, do not make them a part of yourself. What you lose in the world will not be a loss to your soul. Trust in God and destroy fear, which paralyzes all efforts to succeed and attracts the very thing you fear. All Nature will commune with you when you are in tune with God. Realization of this truth will make you master of your destiny.