Jan 315 min
Updated: May 14
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has given us a systematic pathway for developing a n effective mindfulness practice. The mindfulness practice according to Jon Kabat-Zinn; the founder of MBSR, is underpinned by 9 core attitudes which we develop and intentionally cultivate in both our formal meditation and informally throughout our lives.
The mindfulness attitudes are qualities and characteristics we bring to our attention and they make up our mindset. When we sit in meditation or cultivate an informal practice we can discover the mindfulness attitudes will emerge organically. You can find out more about the 9 Mindfulness attitudes in Jon Kabat-Zinn's video series on the Mindfulness Attitudes published by Minds Unlimited and linked in the title of each attitude below.
If you're keen to learn more about the mindfulness attitudes you may be interested in joining my mindfulness for life group. The MFL group meets online every Wednesday at 12pm during the school term with MBSR teacher Marion Miller. You'll can slow down and receive support with your practice and connect with an online community of like minded people. Find out more.
As an example, let’s say you are practicing watching your breathing. At a certain point, you may find your mind saying something like, “This is boring,” or “This isn’t working,” or “I can’t do this.” These are judgments. When they come up in your mind, it is very important to recognize them as judgmental thinking and remind yourself that the practice involves suspending judgment and just watching whatever comes up, including your own judging thoughts, without pursuing them or acting on them in any way. Then proceed with watching your breathing.- Jon Kabat-Zinn
Acceptance is a very active process, there is nothing passive about it, it’s not passive resignation but an act of recognition that things are the way they are… Acceptance doesn’t mean we cant work to change the world, or circumstances, but it means that unless we accept things as they are, we will try to force things to be as they are not and that can create an enormous amount of difficulty. -Jon Kabat-Zinn
Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time. A child may try to help a butterfly to emerge by breaking open its chrysalis. Usually, the butterfly doesn’t benefit from this. Any adult knows that the butterfly can only emerge in its own time, that the process cannot be hurried.- Jon Kabat-Zinn
The richness of present-moment experience is the richness of life itself. Too often we let our thinking and our beliefs about what we “know” prevent us from seeing things as they really are. We tend to take the ordinary for granted and fail to grasp the extra-ordinariness of the ordinary. To see the richness of the present moment, we need to cultivate what has been called “beginner’s mind,” a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time.- Jon Kabat-Zinn
Developing a basic trust in yourself and your feelings is an integral part of meditation training. It is far better to trust in your intuition and your own authority, even if you make some “mistakes” along the way, than always to look outside of yourself for guidance. If at any time something doesn’t feel right to you, why not honor your feelings? Why should you discount them or write them off as invalid because some authority or some group of people think or say differently? This attitude of trusting yourself and your own basic wisdom and goodness is very important in all aspects of the meditation practice.- Jon Kabat-Zinn
As you will see with practice, in the meditative domain, the best way to achieve your own goals is to back off from striving for results and instead to start focusing carefully on seeing and accepting things as they are, moment by moment. With patience and regular practice, movement toward your goals will take place by itself. This movement becomes an unfolding that you are inviting to happen within you. - Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Cultivating the attitude of letting go, or non-attachment, is fundamental to the practice of mindfulness.
When we start paying attention to our inner experience, we rapidly discover that there are certain thoughts and feelings and situations that the mind seems to want to hold on to. If they are pleasant, we try to prolong these thoughts or feelings or situations, stretch them out, and conjure them up again and again.
Similarly, there are many thoughts and feelings and experiences that we try to get rid of or to prevent and protect ourselves from having because they are unpleasant and painful and frightening in one way or another. In the meditation practice, we intentionally put aside the tendency to elevate some aspects of our experience and to reject others. Instead, we just let our experience be what it is and practice observing it from moment to moment- Jon Kabat-Zinn
People who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis have been found to exercise more regularly, have fewer physical symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and feel more optimistic about their upcoming week as compared to those who keep journals recording the stressors or neutral events of their lives. Daily discussion of gratitude results in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, energy, and sleep duration and quality. Grateful people also report lower levels of depression and stress, although they do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.
People who think about, talk about, or write about gratitude daily are more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or offered emotional support to another person.- Jon Kabat-Zinn
Jon Kabat-Zinn didn't include compassion in his 9 attitudes of MBSR but I would like to acknowledge that self compassion and compassion has helped me navigate my mindfulness journey and open my heart and release my suffering and traumas. Kristen Neff describes self compassion as being mindfulness, kindness toward self and common humanity. You can infuse your mindfulness practice practice with compassion by imagining a loved one coming towards you and cultivating that same warmth and open heartedness towards yourself and expanding that outwardly to others.
The attitudes of mindfulness provide a guiding path into presence but they also emerge organically and effortlessly as your practice develops and you listen more deeply. In many ways the mindfulness attitudes are in harmony with the patterning of the larger ecosystem we are connected to and we can discover how mindfulness reveals this more clearly.
Tune into your inner life and listen more deeply to your connection to self, others and the natural world. Join our next Mindfulness for Life group online from anywhere in the world. The runs every Victorian school term and is an online supportive option to help you slow down and deepen your mindfulness.