Mindfulness is a way of balancing what goes on inside us with what goes on around us. Mindfulness is a type of attention with three distinctive qualities. It’s intentional, present-focused and friendly or caring. We already have mindfulness (it’s a human capacity) though most of us are unfamiliar with or unaware of it. Mindfulness is also a set of practices we engage in, including meditation, to strengthen this capacity and cultivate healthy habits. We learn to remember we have a choice about what to pay attention to and how. Meditation is a formal practice in which we set aside time to cultivate and deepen our awareness (and all the benefits that come along with practice). Sitting and focusing on the breath in the body is a common practice. We are not trying to create a particular experience, generate specific feelings or empty the mind. We are paying attention to things as they are and learning to stay open so that we can choose how to work with whatever arises in meditation, or in life.