9 Mindfulness Attitudes: A Guide to Cultivating a Mindful Attitude

Learn about 9 mindfulness attitudes: impartial witness, beginner's mind, basic trust, confidence in yourself & feelings, non-attachment & more.

9 Mindfulness Attitudes: A Guide to Cultivating a Mindful Attitude

Mindfulness is a form of wisdom that involves being an impartial witness to one's own experience. It is about staying open and curious, allowing us to be receptive to the new and trusting our own intuition. Building basic confidence in ourselves and our feelings is an integral part of meditation training. It is better to trust our own intuition, even if we make some mistakes along the way, than to always look outside of ourselves for direction.

We should be open and receptive to what we can learn from other sources, but ultimately, the intention is to find our own wisdom from within and trust that it will develop. Not trying hard is not the same as not working hard. It is more about being present with intention and leaving aside the results. This is the most difficult mindfulness attitude to adopt because almost everything we do we do with a purpose or goal in mind. Mindfulness attitudes are qualities and characteristics that we bring to our attention and form our way of thinking.

When we sit down to meditate or cultivate an informal practice, we may discover that mindfulness attitudes emerge organically. There are three elements to living consciously: the intention, the practice and the attitude that we bring to our practice. These are beautifully summarized in Jon Kabat-Zinn's early definition of mindfulness. There is increasing scientific evidence and research that demonstrates the many benefits of the regular practice of mindfulness. For a more in-depth discussion of acceptance, it is recommended to read an article on how to practice acceptance for mindfulness. When critical thoughts occur, it is very important to recognize them as such and remember that the practice involves suspending judgment and simply observing what comes up, including our own thoughts of judgment, without persecuting them or acting on them in any way.

We should be patient with ourselves and consider our intention without straining or forcing anything, whether it's our goals or our mindfulness practice. Choosing a single “mindfulness sub-topic” to focus on among the 9 attitudes can be an effective way to grow our practice. For example, if we decide that we're focusing on gratitude today, it's probably more effective than focusing on the vaguer concept of mindfulness. As soon as we collapse in our preferences, our strong attachments to what should and should not happen, we lose presence and lose the balance of our mind. Trusting ourselves and our intuition is at the core of the concept of trust within the nine attitudes of mindfulness. If we'd like to learn more about mindfulness attitudes, we may be interested in an 8-week online program.

Now that we know the 9 attitudes of mindfulness, we can enroll in this 8-week digital program and discover how to intentionally cultivate them through a series of formal and informal practices. Cultivating the attitude of letting go, or of non-attachment, is fundamental to the practice of mindfulness. We can learn more about these 9 mindfulness attitudes in Jon Kabat-Zinn's video series on mindfulness attitudes published by Minds Unlimited.