“We must practice mindfulness: watching the mind and bringing it back to the
present moment again and again. That is perhaps the most essential component of
any training. You can’t be somewhere else mentally while your training is going on
-Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
Mindfulness practice trains us to be present and to relate non-judgmentally to things as they are. It brings us back to the basics. This time-honoured way of working with the mind, developed in the Buddhist tradition, has gone mainstream in recent years, as evidenced by web sites such as Mindfulkids, Mindful: Living with Awareness and Compassion, and the Centre for Mindfulness and Justice.
When we practice mindfulness-awareness meditation, we begin to see that we don’t have to get caught up in the storylines in our head—what I should have done, what I’m going to say the next time I talk to that person, how I’m going to solve this problem–the list is endless. Instead, we start paying attention to now–this reality here, our breath–and mind and body begin to synchronize. “You are not working with your mind alone,” Chogyam Trungpa writes about meditation practice in Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. “You are working with your mind and your body, and when the two work together, you never leave reality.”