Definitions

Definitions

Effortless mindfulness doesn't require an extensive vocabulary of technical terms. However, it may be helpful to know a few key words and phrases.

Basic mindfulness

This is a traditional initial practice in some Buddhist traditions and is the basis of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. We intentionally calm the small mind by focusing on the breath and use this stability to see the mind and the world more clearly. 

Effortless mindfulness

Effortless mindfulness is traditionally seen as an advanced practice, yet it can be as easy to learn as basic mindfulness. It is a practice of shifting out of the chattering mind and into the source of our mind which is already awake and aware without our help. Effortless mindfulness is deeply compatible with an active, engaged life since it can be practiced with eyes open, anywhere.

Awake awareness

Shifting into and abiding as awake awareness is the goal of effortless mindfulness. It is prior to thinking, includes thinking, and is wisdom beyond thinking. Awake awareness is not perception-like attention but non-conceptual intelligence that is already aware, without effort. It is called different names in Buddhism such as unborn mind, nature of mind, Buddha mind and ordinary mind. It is our natural condition and one we are familiar with when we are relaxed, embodied, and connected to others.

Glimpse practice

This method employs short shifts of awareness that gradually familiarize us with awake, effortless awareness. Small glimpses of awareness are repeated during the day and can be practiced anywhere. Glimpses can have a profound effect: they are not a meditation state but a direct shift into our awake nature.

Small self, "mini-me"

These terms refer to our sense of self when we are identified with thought. Especially when we identify with thought to the degree that we create the feeling that we are a thinker located in our head, looking out of our eyes. This feeling of a "mini-me" is the root of suffering as it gives us a feeling of being separate and perpetually dissatisfied. From the deluded perspective of this small separate self we fear and grasp things in an attempt to feel satisfied. The alternative is to recognize the inherent wellbeing of our connected, spacious, compassionate awareness.