Over the past few decades, mindfulness has become immensely popular in the West. But what exactly is mindfulness and how can you get started practicing it?
Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment.” It allows us to recognize our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as they arise without getting stuck in our usual, automatic reactions.
There’s sometimes a lot of mystique around mindfulness but it really is as simple as becoming aware of the present moment.
I’ve put together 20 of my favorite quotes that convey the simplicity of mindfulness. These will help any beginner get started on the path of living in the present.
1. “When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~Lao Tzu
2. “In today’s rush, we all think too much — seek too much — want too much — and forget about the joy of just being.” ~Eckhart Tolle
3. “The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
4. “In the end, just three things matter: How well we have lived. How well we have loved. How well we have learned to let go.” ~Jack Kornfield
5. “As soon as we wish to be happier, we are no longer happy.” ~Walter Landor
6. “The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” ~ Henry Miller
7. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” ~Dalai Lama
8. “We have only now, only this single eternal moment opening and unfolding before us, day and night.” ~Jack Kornfield
9. “Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the small uncaring ways.” ~Stephen Vincent Benet
10. “Breath is the finest gift of nature. Be grateful for this wonderful gift.” ~Amit Ray
11. “In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility.” ~Victoria Moran
12. “The way to live in the present is to remember that ‘This too shall pass.’ When you experience joy, remembering that ‘This too shall pass’ helps you savor the here and now. When you experience pain and sorrow, remembering that ‘This too shall pass’ reminds you that grief, like joy, is only temporary.” ~Joey Green
13. “Our own worst enemy cannot harm us as much as our unwise thoughts. No one can help us as much as our own compassionate thoughts.” ~Buddha
14. “The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.” ~Pema Chödrön
15. “Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” ~Mother Teresa
16. “We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.” ~Maya Angelou
17. “If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are here and now, and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.” ~Masaru Emoto
18. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” ~Dalai Lama
19. “Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out.” ~Katherine Dunham
20. “Meditation is another dimension of natural beauty. People talk about appreciating natural beauty—climbing mountains, seeing giraffes and tigers in Africa, and all sorts of things. But nobody seems to appreciate this kind of natural beauty of ourselves. This is actually far more beautiful than flora and fauna, far more fantastic, far more painful and colorful and delightful.”