Formal mindfulness meditation is the practice of sustaining one’s attention to the body, breath, sensations, or whatever arises in each moment. Mindfulness is a translation of the Pali (a unique language of the Indian subcontinent that was used to write many Buddhist and Hindu documents) term sati (sometimes translated as “to remember”). Many psychologists believe that rumination and worry contribute to depression and anxiety, while the practice of mindfulness is an effective reducer of rumination, worry, as well as drug addiction and pain. Mindfulness meditation is practiced sitting with one’s eyes closed either cross-legged on a cushion or in a chair with the back straight. The meditator’s focus is on the abdominal excursions during breathing or the feel of breath within the nostrils. Desirable physiological and psychologic changes can be monitored scientifically in a person employing mindfulness meditation. Henry Thoreau’s writings from Walden Pond offer a uniquely American slant to mindfulness observations. Mindfulness-based stress reduction was developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center using a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and yoga to help people become more mindful producing the beneficial effects of stress reduction, relaxation, and improvements to their quality of life.
~Dr. Gil Haas, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church