What is Mindfulness

We all can gain from the development of mindfulness, but when we talk about mindfulness, what do we mean? Neurologically, what is mindfulness? Sometimes we simply say we lack attention. Actually our capacity to focus is made of three elements. What are these elements and how can we identify the ones that need to be improved in our case? How can we monitor the evolution of our mindfulness on a regular basis?

The Three Aspects of Mindfulness

When we want to be mindful we address three different but related aspects of attention. These are:

  1. Our capacity to hold onto a specific information.
  2. The nature of the brain to routinely update its content with new information.
  3. Finally, the built-in desire of the brain for stimulation.

Traditional methods of contemplative practice were develops when people were facing much lower stimulation levels in life.  When we decide to use a contemplative practice such as meditation we can individualize our approach. Rick Hanson in his book ”The Buddha’s brain” encourages us to consider which of these three aspects is the most challenging for us.  Is it to hold something into our awareness for a long period? Do we have difficulties filtering out distractions? or is it our desire for stimulation that makes our contemplative practice challenging? Each and everyone of us will have a different profile when it comes to mindfulness.