Mindfulness is an ubiquitous term these days, so its easy to forget that behind it is a long history dating back to the birth of Buddhism. Anapanasati, “mindfulness of breathing,” was the meditation practice of the Buddha, and as such it is at the heart of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness: mindfulness of the body (especially the breath), feelings, mind, and thoughts.
Traditionally, the term sati translates as the ability to remember or to keep an object in mind. More generally, it is the ability to see the object we are concentrating on during our meditation—the breath, a thought, a feeling, our pure awareness. In order to be mindful, we must also have alertness and resolve. These two in turn rest on appropriate attention—awareness that matches the object of our meditation. This is important because it’s possible to be concentrated yet mindless. It’s possible to be very focused and not see the object we’re focusing on at all.Read more