The Construct of Mindfulness | Journal of Social Issues | Find Articles:
Mindfulness is not an easy concept to define but can be best understood as the process of drawing novel distinctions. It does not matter whether what is noticed is important or trivial, as long as it is new to the viewer.
Actively drawing these distinctions keeps us situated in the present. It also makes us more aware of the context and perspective of our actions than if we rely upon distinctions and categories drawn in the past. Under this latter situation, rules and routines are more likely to govern our behavior, irrespective of the current circumstances, and this can be construed as mindless behavior.
The process of drawing novel distinctions can lead to a number of diverse consequences, including
(1) a greater sensitivity to one's environment,
(2) more openness to new information,
(3) the creation of new categories for structuring perception,
(4) enhanced awareness of multiple perspectives in problem solving.
The subjective "feel" of mindfulness is that of a heightened state of involvement and wakefulness or being in the present.
This subjective state is the inherent common thread that ties together the extremely diverse observable consequences for the viewer.
Mindfulness is not a cold cognitive process. When one is actively drawing novel distinctions, the whole individual is involved.