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My definition of Mindfulness from November 2021

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

One of my assignments for the graduate program was to write my definition of mindfulness. I wrote this below in November 2021. It's interesting looking back on what I wrote; although still relevant, I have developed a broader understanding of mindfulness.

Mindfulness Definition- November 2021

Mindfulness is being aware of what is happening during moment-to-moment experiences. It allows our mind to be in a “receptive state” to whatever is showing up during this time in a non-judgmental way—being aware of sensations arising within our body. “Non- judgemental” is defined as letting go of any judgments that arise during practice. During formal mindfulness practices, one may have thoughts come through, and one would notice the thought in such a way as, “I have a thought,” and then allowing your thought to be released.

Being in a receptive state allows you to be open to what is occurring without “distortion” or creating a story about why things are the way they are. This part of the definition, through my own experience, holds significant value to me.

My definition is closely related to my understanding and experience of mindfulness while also connecting it to the literature I have read. This idea of mindfulness being non-judgemental is adapted from John Kabat Zin’s definition of mindfulness.

Being in a receptive state allows us to be aware of what is going on and observe how we react to things around us. Ryan (2021) argues that this receptive state impacts how one makes decisions without distorting their views on their values. After about a year of practicing mindfulness, I had a shift and started noticing that I was not connecting with many of my personal and professional values. Once I could bring awareness to this, I could make better decisions regarding my intentions for myself and my career.

The idea of noticing what is happening moment to moment is an important part of mindfulness that I did not pay much attention to before starting my practice. There is a beautiful example of eating a tangerine that Hahn (1975) tells in the book “The Miracle of Mindfulness.” He helped his friend recognize that he had already started putting another piece of tangerine in his mouth before he had finished the last piece and explained that he should finish the piece in his mouth first before unconsciously eating another piece. This brought to mind how often I can jump from one thing to the next without being present for the moments between.


Nhat Hanh, T. (1975). The miracle of mindfulness. An introduction to the practice of meditation. Beacon Press.

Ryan, R.M., & Donald, J.N., & Bradshaw, E.L. (2021). Mindfulness and motivation: A process view using self-determination theory. Association for psychological science, 1-7. DOI: 10.1177/09637214211009511

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