“For clinical purposes, mindfulness can be considered a distinct state of consciousness distinguished from the ordinary consciousness of everyday living. In general, a mindful state of consciousness is characterized by awareness turned inward toward present felt experience. It is passive, though alert, open, curious, and exploratory. It seeks to simply be aware of what is, as opposed to attempting to do or confirm anything.
Thus, it is an expression of non-doing, or non-efforting where one self-consciously suspends agendas, judgments, and normal-common understandings. In so doing, one can easily lose track of space and time, like a child at play who becomes totally engaged in the activity before her. In addition to the passive capacity to simply witness experience as it unfolds, a mindful state of consciousness may also manifest essential qualities such as compassion and acceptance, highlighted by Almaas, R. Schwartz and others; qualities that can be positively brought to bear on what comes into awareness.
These characteristics contrast with ordinary consciousness, appropriate for much life in the everyday world, where attention is actively directed outward, in regular space and time, normally in the service of some agenda or task, most often ruled by habitual response patterns, and where one by and large has an investment in one’s theories and actions.” – Gregory J. Johanson, Ph.D.: