Practicing mindfulness? Mindfulness is a key step along the way to transforming yourself into an individual free from suffering. True mindfulness involves shedding preconceived notions about how the mind works; it also involves changing your views about the world. Mindfulness requires opening your eyes to pay attention and experience what is going on around you--not out of habit, but afresh, with each moment. In addition to external exploration--attending to the beauty of the sunrise, the first flower of spring, the way the rain strikes the pavement, the pitch of a baby's cry--it involves internal exploration. True mindfulness requires watching the mind. You must step behind your mind to take a good look at it and see its workings. It is not an easy task. You find yourself habitually pursuing thoughts and emotions, being distracted by sounds and sensations. Mindfulness means that you get behind these things and look at them. Watch them being produced. See how your mind uses them.
Mindfulness alone does not lead to transformation, however. The biggest part of transforming yourself as a person is practicing acceptance. Although mindfulness may help to reveal the truth about yourself, real transformation occurs through learning to accept the truth about yourself, your mind. You must not hide from yourself; you learn to accept the inner workings of your mind. Mindfulness meditation is an important guide to reaching acceptance. And through acceptance, individuals are transformed so that they do not suffer.
Mindfulness and acceptance are not about staying in the status quo. "Acceptance" can mistakenly be construed as a passive state, requiring no action on the part of the mindful individual. This is not true. Mindfulness and acceptance are not about finding inner peace and becoming content with the way the world is. Mindfulness and acceptance must always connect you with the external world, because they require recognition that "internal" and "external" are not truly distinguishable. Transformation occurs through practicing mindfulness and acceptance by recognizing that you are not apart from the world. They are simply part of a philosophy that requires transforming yourself first in order to be able to play a part in transforming the world.