Mindfulness: A Definition
Shaun Kerry, M.D.
Diplomate, American Board
of Psychiatry and Neurology
Beyond the brain’s capacity to
store factual information and perform various calculations, it has
higher functions that enable us to:
Prioritize our needs and interests
relevant facts from complex realities that are marred by
• Make judgments and decisions based on a
complex array of factors
• Integrate seemingly unconnected facts into an enriched whole
• Communicate effectively with one
another and elicit cooperation
• Empathize and feel emotional connection
The brain’s capacity to perform these higher
functions encapsulates the essence of
mindfulness. Mindfulness, however, is not simply an abstract
concept that resides solely in the invisible realm of the brain, but can
be found all around us.
||Have you ever listened
to a piece of music that seemingly touches the core of your
soul, thrusting you into a realm far beyond the present moment, and all
of its concerns?
Suddenly, your mind opens, and you
see the world in a different light. You no longer obsess over the
details of your daily routine. For some
|inexplicable reason, you are able to tap into
your innate creativity, and you realize that life is full of
possibilities. Without needing to hide, lie to yourself or hide
behind a mask, you are able to acknowledge your strengths and
weaknesses. You no longer feel the need to control or be
controlled by others. This is the power of mindfulness.
Perhaps you have encountered such
individuals who have the ability to tune out the irrelevant
distractions of the world, and focus solely on those things that truly
matter. These are people such as the doctor in the emergency room.
Though he knows that the chaos of the world rages around him, he is able
to direct all of his energies toward the patient at hand, often with a
human life hanging in the balance.
These are the people who can reach a higher
plane of existence, that transcends the mediocre and the
negative. Mental power is an integral part of mindfulness, and
cannot be obtained overnight. It takes great patience. One of the
best ways to develop mental focus is through the practice of meditation.
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