Quantum Change Consultants

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Cognitive Therapy and
Relationship Enhancement

Terminology & Frequently Asked Questions

What is mindfulness practice?

Mindfulness practice typically involves focusing the attention on a single point and repeatedly bringing the attention back to the single point whenever you notice your mind has wandered. The purpose, however, is not simply to be mindful while doing the practices. Rather, the point is to expand time spent in mindful awareness fully into more and more of your daily activities. That is, to be awake moment by moment no matter what you’re doing or what’s going on around you. To live consciously.

What’s the difference between mindfulness and meditation?

I generally use the terms interchangeably even though this is not precisely correct. The term “meditation” may be correctly used to refer to contemplating or thinking intensely about spiritual or religious matters. However, when I use that term here, I am referring to practices that are explicitly “non-thinking” and not “religious” in the sense that word is typically used in Western cultures.

I’ve tried meditation but it doesn’t work for me. I can’t make my mind shut off.

 The job of the mind is to generate a stream of thoughts. Some may be important. Most are not. Let the mind do its job. There’s no need to resist it. With mindfulness, we learn to detach from the stream of thoughts, to allow the thoughts to pass by without chasing after them. To try to stop thoughts by force of will keeps you attached to them. 

“Single point” or “single-pointedness”

Most mindfulness practice involves seeking as best you can to keep the center of your attention focused on a “single point”, such as the breath or a physical sensation. This single-pointedness is the common denominator of most mindfulness practice.  


When people first start meditation they are often astonished at how difficult it is to keep the attention on the single point. We sit and focus on the breath, but soon the attention wanders to other things. Long ago, mindfulness teachers called this “monkey-mind”, referring to the way excited monkeys in trees jump around from limb to limb and can’t seem to be still. Now, we might call it “thought-surfing”, noting the parallel with “web-surfing”, jumping from link to link on the internet.

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