MindfulnessMindfulness is the practice of purposely bringing one’s attention in the present moment without evaluation.

Zen is as diverse as its practitioners, but common features include an emphasis on simplicity and the teachings of nonduality and nonconceptual understanding. Nonduality is sometimes described as “not one not two,” meaning that things are neither entirely unified nor are they entirely distinct from one another. Zen recognizes, for example, that the body and mind are interconnected: they are neither the same nor completely separate. Non-conceptual understanding refers to insight into “things as they are” that cannot be expressed in words. (Tricycle)

Intensive group meditation may be practiced by serious Zen practitioners. In the Japanese language, this practice is called sesshin. While the daily routine may require monks to meditate for several hours each day, during the intensive period they devote themselves almost exclusively to zen practice. The numerous 30–50 minute long sitting meditation (zazen) periods are interwoven with rest breaks, ritualized formal meals (Jp. oryoki), and short periods of work (Jp. samu) that are to be performed with the same state of mindfulness. In modern Buddhist practice in Japan, Taiwan, and the West, lay students often attend these intensive practice sessions or retreats. These are held at many Zen centers or temples. (Wiki)

“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you‘re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that mindfulness practices can help us to improve our physical and mental health. For example, mindfulness has been shown to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and to help improve sleep quality, immune function, and overall wellbeing (15). So how does mindfulness work? One theory is that mindfulness helps us to disengage from Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) that can lead to negative emotions like anxiety and depression (6). When we‘re not mindful, we‘re on autopilot, and ANTs can take over. But when we‘re aware of our thoughts and feelings, we can choose which ones to focus on and let go of the ones that don‘t serve us. Another theory is that mindfulness helps us to connect with our inner wisdom and intuition, which can guide us to make better choices in our lives (7). When we‘re in touch with our true selves, we can make choices that are in alignment with our values and what‘s important to us. So there are many potential benefits of mindfulness, both for our mental and physical health.” (TEWAI)