Mindfulness Definitions

Here is a selection of definitions from people who know a lot more about mindfulness than I do.


Mindfulness refers to keeping one's consciousness alive to the present reality. It is the miracle by which we master and restore ourselves.

Thich Nhat Hanh, “The Miracle of Mindfulness”


Mindfulness is knowing what is happening, when it’s happening, without preference.

Rob Nairn, “Diamond Mind”


Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally. This kind of awareness nurtures greater awareness, clarity and acceptance of present moment reality. It wakes us to the fact that our lives unfold only in moments. If we are not fully present for many of these moments, we may not only miss what is most valuable in our lives but also fail to realise the depth of our possibilities for growth and transformation.

Jon Kabat Zinn


Mindfulness is a universal human capacity – a way of paying attention to the present moment unfolding of experience – that can be cultivated, sustained and integrated into everyday life through in-depth inquiry, fuelled by the ongoing discipline of meditation practice.  Its central aim is the relief of suffering and the uncovering of our essential nature.       

Saki Santorelli, “Heal Thyself"


Mindfulness is… a turning towards life…. To live life as if each moment is important, as if each moment counted and could be worked with, even if it is a moment of pain, sadness, despair or fear.

Jon Kabat Zinn