Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training. The term “mindfulness” is a translation of the Pali term, which is a significant element of some Buddhist traditions.
Mindfulness meditation is practiced sitting with eyes closed, cross-legged on a cushion, or on a chair, with the back straight. Attention is put on the movement of the abdomen when breathing in and out, or on the awareness of the breath as it goes in and out the nostrils.
If one becomes distracted from the breath, one passively notices one’s mind has wandered, but in an accepting, non-judgmental way and one returns to focusing on breathing. A famous exercise, introduced by Kabat-Zinn in his MBSR-program, is the mindful tasting of a raisin, in which a raisin is being tasted and eaten mindfully.
Meditators start with short periods of 10 minutes or so of meditation practice per day. As one practices regularly, it becomes easier to keep the attention focused on breathing. Eventually awareness of the breath can be extended into awareness of thoughts, feelings and actions.
Mindfulness meditation can be defined in many ways and can be used for a variety of different therapies. When defining mindfulness meditation, it is useful to draw upon Buddhist psychological traditions and the developing scholarship within empirical psychology.
End-to-moment manifestation of subjective conscious experience, and therefore can be a potentially useful theoretical resource to guide mindfulness interventions., attributes of an object (e.g. color, shape, etc.)
The five-aggregate model
An ancient model of the mind, generally known as the five-aggregate model enables one to understand the moment-to-moment manifestation of subjective conscious experience, and therefore can be a potentially useful theoretical resource to guide mindfulness interventions.
The five aggregates are described as follows:
1) Material form: includes both the physical body and external matter where material elements are continuously moving to and from the material body.
2) Feelings: can be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
3) Perceptions: represent being aware of attributes of an object (e.g. color, shape, etc.)
4 )Volition: represents bodily, verbal, or psychological behavior.
5) Sensory consciousness: refers to input from the five senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or touch sensations) or a thought that happen to arise in the mind.
This model describes that sensory consciousness result in the generation of feelings, perception or volition, and that individuals’ previously conditioned attitudes and past associations influence this generation. The five aggregates are described as constantly arising and ceasing in the present moment.