- 1. Beginner’s Mind: In order to be able to see the richness of the present moment, it helps to cultivate a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the very first time. With beginner’s mind, the joys of the world as it unfolds around us become new again, as if we are all children—freed from our old expectations based on past experiences. We can be curious.
- 2. Non‐judging: Mindfulness is cultivated by assuming a stance of non-‐judging witness to our own experience. This requires that we become aware of the constant stream of evaluative and judging thoughts that we have—then try to step back. With a non-‐ judging mind, things are neither “good” nor “bad”—but simply present or absent.
- 3. Patience: Patience demonstrates that we understand and accept that things have their own time for unfolding. We tend to be impatient with ourselves, expecting we “should” be able to calm the mind, stop the thoughts, or get over whatever is upsetting us. These things have their own schedule and patience allows us to simply observe the unfolding of the mind and body over time.
- 4. Non-striving: Meditation is different from all other human activity: we do it not with a goal or destination in mind, but rather with a mind towards simply being—not doing. There is no goal other than to be conscious of yourself as you are. When you set expectations such as feeling more relaxed, you are introducing conditions that don’t allow you to be fully present because you are trying to change the present to be something else. Remember to allow anything and everything that you experience to be there, because it already is. If you are tensed, just pay attention to the tension. If you are criticizing yourself, observe the activity of the judging mind.
- 5. Trust: You are your own best guide. This is true. It is far better to trust your own feelings, intuition and experience than to get caught up in the authority of the “experts” (though often it can feel easier to trust external authorities to tell us how to live our lives). If at any time something doesn’t feel right to you, pay attention, examine your own feelings, and trust in your intuition and your own basic wisdom and goodness. This doesn’t mean you react based on all your feelings, but that you explore fully what they are telling you about a situation and then trust yourself to make right action.
- 6. Acceptance: Acceptance involves the willingness to things as they actually are in the present. We may not like it, but if that’s the way things are, so they are. Acceptance does not mean that you have to be satisfied with the way things are. Acceptance allows us to cease struggling to change things that are beyond our ability to control, and is the first step in any genuine process of change. This frees up energy to take appropriate actions instead of working in a mind that is clouded by denial, prejudices, fears, and judgments. Only with acceptance can the mind become free.
- 7. Letting Go/Letting Be: Letting go, also known as “non‐attachment”, is fundamental to the mindfulness meditation practice. In our minds, there are often things we want to hold on to, whether they are good memories or bad feelings. Our minds tend to grasp some thoughts and push others away. With letting go, we put aside the tendency to elevate some parts of our experience and reject others—simply letting our experience be what it is, accepting things as they are without judging.
Adapted From: Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabat‐Zinn, 1990