7 Foundations of Mindfulness Practice

The practice of mindfulness is like cultivating a garden. When certain conditions are present, the garden flourishes. Holding the following seven mind qualities, and reflecting upon them, will help you cultivate our mind which will promote health. By practicing them to your best understanding, you will nourish and strengthen your practice. Also, remember that all of the foundations are interdependent. By working on one, you enhance all of them.

Foundation #1 – Non-Judging

Since birth, we have been conditioned to judge everything in our lives – people, things, and events. Some are labeled good, while others are labeled bad. The rest are categorized as neutral because we don’t think much of them. As we make quick judgments, we enter autopilot and stop experiencing our lives fully. Instead, we coast through the day and get caught up in our likes and dislikes. If you can relate, you probably know that it’s hard to find peace living like this. It’s important to recognize when you’re acting as judge. Practicing mindfulness will help you learn when you are judging your surroundings. By taking notice, you’ll be able to turn off autopilot and actually experience the moment.

Foundation #2 – Patience

With patience – a form of wisdom – you understand and accept that life events must unfold in their own time. By practicing mindfulness, you intentionally give yourself the room to experience the moment. This includes sad, mad, and frightened moments. Rather than rushing to a better moment, you’ll recognize and experience each and every moment as special and unique when you practice mindfulness.

Foundation #3 – Beginner’s Mind

A beginner’s mind allows you to be receptive to new possibilities. Instead of taking the ordinary for granted, you’ll find the extraordinary in the things you normally take for granted. An uncluttered mind will see everything as new – without the cloudiness of thoughts, opinions, or feelings. Practice this with the elements of the earth – trees, rocks, grass, sky, clouds, sun, moon, etc. Try it with people you know, as well as your own thoughts.

Foundation #4 – Trust

As you practice mindfulness, you are taking the responsibility of listening and trusting your own being. The more you cultivate this foundation in yourself, you will find it easier to listen to your intuition about others. You just might find there is goodness in most people.

Foundation #5 – Non-Striving

Allowing your mind to go blank, rather than do everything with a purpose, is practicing mindfulness. There is no goal with non-striving but to be who you are in the moment. If you are in pain, feel the pain. If you are tense, feel the tension. Through awareness, you can hold all your feelings. But, then you can also let it go.

Foundation #6 – Acceptance

The natural progression of acceptance is reached only after emotion-filled periods of denial, pain, and anger. Instead of avoiding the truth, embrace it. Find opportunities of growth rather than wallowing in Trilogy Medical Centers • Lean to Wellness • Stress Management & Quality Sleep • 9.3.2015 • Page 5 of 12 pain and negativity. While you may not like everything, accepting the present as it is – nothing more or less – is practicing mindfulness. Focusing on being alive in the present can lead to acceptance and finding the positive.

Foundation #7 – Letting Go

Do you ever have thoughts or feelings that you hold onto? Of course you do. We all do. When we experience something pleasant, we try to hold onto those feelings or situations for as long we can. On the other hand, we try to rid ourselves of associated thoughts or feelings when we experience something unpleasant or painful. Yet, somehow we hold onto them instead as if we are obsessed instead of ridding them. By letting go, you put aside the tendency of elevating experiences – good or bad. Instead, letting go allows you to accept things as they are – letting them be.


This information is available as a PDF document.