Identifying Effective Informal Mindfulness Practices in Daily Activities

Ke Zhang

Abstract


Mindfulness is a state of consciousness that entails regulating attention to focus on the moment-to-moment experience with an open orientation. The ability to evoke and sustain this state can be cultivated by both formal and informal meditation practices. In the hope of making mindfulness practice more accessible to the fast-paced modern lifestyle, this research explores the possibilities of utilizing modern daily activities as informal mindfulness meditation practices. Through examination of relevant Buddhist texts, along with contemporary studies on the mindfulness, this research outlines the mindfulness state, delineates a four-stage process for practicing mindfulness, and hypothesizes five characteristics of effective mindfulness practice. The four interconnected stages shared by all mindfulness practice are: gathering attention on a single focus, redirecting wandering attention back on the focus and sustaining gathered attention, observing ongoing body and mind activities to focus on the present moment, and finally being mindful of the present moment with the absence on internal chatter. Based on this sketched process of attaining mindfulness, observable mindfulness meditation practices, and relevant literature, five characteristics of effective mindfulness practice are hypothesized: reasonable in time duration, comfortable/pleasurable, limited in sensual inputs, simple/familiar, and repetitive. It is speculated that activities more in line with these five characteristics are more suited for being adopted as activities for informal mindfulness practice, especially for amateur practitioners.


Keywords


Informal meditation, Mindfulness, Contemporary Buddhism

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References


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