What is mindfulness anyway? There are different definitions of mindfulnesss. Kabat-Zinn (2006) defines mindfulness as “paying attention, in the present moment, on purpose, non-judgmentally, as if your life depended on it.” A second, more compact definition attributed to the writer Jiddu Krishnamurti is “conscious affectionate awareness of the moment.” A good way to understand mindfulness is to consider its opposite ‘reactivity’ or auto-pilot ‘mindlessness’ reflected, for instance, in the common way of ‘just trying to get things done.’
How is mindfulness related to meditation? Meditation is one powerful and effective way to formally practice and cultivate mindfulness. But there are many others, including yoga, tai-chi….prayer can also be a way to cultivate mindfulness. Informally, mindfulness may be practiced in anything we are doing–from brushing our teeth to talking with a friend.
Is this about trying to convert someone to Buddhism? “Mindfulness is really universal and doesn’t have anything to do with Buddhism in the sense that you have to be Buddhist in order to practice mindfulness….This isn’t some Spartan, steel-trap, discerning, cold exercise or some weird naval-gazing, zombie-voodoe stuff. Rather it is an experiment in cultivating greater levels of patience, compassion for yourself, open-mindedness and gentle persistence” (Jon Kabat-Zinn).
What’s the point of going ‘outside the gospel’ for answers. Don’t we already have all the truth we need? Joseph Smith and Brigham Young both taught that a fundamental principle of Mormonism was to accept truth no matter where it came from. Joseph stated, “One of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may” (History of the Church 5:499). Brigham also said: “‘Mormonism’ so-called, embraces every principle pertaining to life and salvation for time and eternity. No matter who has it. If the infidel has got truth it belongs to ‘Mormonism.’ The truth and sound doctrine possessed by the sectarian world, and they have a great deal, all belong to this church. As for their morality many of them are morally just as good as we are. All that is good, lovely, and praiseworthy belongs to this church and kingdom” (Journal of Discourses 11:375).
Brigham added: “It was the occupation of Jesus Christ and his Apostles to propagate the Gospel of salvation and the principles of eternal life to the world, and it is our duty and calling, as ministers of the same salvation and
Gospel, to gather every item of truth and reject every error. Whether a truth be found with professed infidels, or with the Universalists, or the Church of Rome, or the Methodists, the Church of England, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the
Quakers, the Shakers, or any other of the various and numerous different sects and parties, all of whom have more or less truth, it is the business of the Elders of this Church…to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation” (JD 7:283).