Mindfulness is the ability to generate attention toward oneself or an outside object. It is a step toward more conscious living. But mindfulness is coming from our exertion of will, that is, we are making ourselves mindful. When we relax our efforts, mindfulness goes away. As long as we are in control we will continue to believe in the truth of separation and will not see the end of the assumption-of-self. This is the spiritual fix we are in, either we let go of mindfulness into effortless awareness, or we stay bound to the person who is making herself conscious and thereby limit freedom.
Mindfulness Meditation as a Buddhist Practice
While mindfulness can be practiced quite well without Buddhism, Buddhism cannot be practiced without mindfulness. In its Buddhist context, mindfulness meditation has three overarching purposes: knowing the mind; training the mind; and freeing the mind.
Knowing the Mind
It is easy to spend an hour, a day, or even a lifetime so caught up with thoughts, concerns, and activities as to preclude understanding deeply what makes us operate the way we do. People can easily be clueless as to what motivates them, the nature of their reactions and feelings, and even, at times, what they are thinking about. The first step in mindfulness practice is to notice and take stock of who we are. What is going on in the body, in the mind, in our emotional life? What underlying dispositions are operating?