Mindfulness can be considered a process of waking up to the present moment. The practitioner’s focus shifts from memories of the past and plans about the future to what is happening right now.
However, the practice of mindfulness is not only about being aware of the present moment, but also about the quality of that awareness. When developing mindfulness, the practitioner tries to purposefully bring their attention to the present moment and cultivate an attitude of acceptance and non-judgement towards it.
Most of the time, without practice, mindfulness is a fleeting state of initial awareness. Usually, once the mind is aware of something, it begins thinking about it, weaving a narrative around it, labeling it and judging it. When mindfulness is practiced, the practitioner begins to extend that fleeting moment into a prolonged state of awareness.
Because mindfulness is an objective and non-judgmental process, it is closely linked to other yogic concepts of acceptance and surrender. A person can still experience thoughts, feelings and difficult states of mind; but, through mindfulness, these experiences can become less threatening. They simply become something else to be aware of and accept without resistance or grasping.