Mindfulness Foundation

Establishing the Foundation for a Lifetime Journey in Mindfulness: Exploring the 9 Attitudes of Mindfulness as Taught by Jon Kabat-Zinn


Mindfulness, a word that has gained much prominence in the realms of mental health, wellness, and personal development, offers a path for greater self-awareness, resilience, and emotional balance. Rooted in ancient Buddhist practices and more recently systematized by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in the late 20th century, mindfulness has proved to be an effective adjunct to traditional therapies and interventions in the fields of mental health and wellbeing. The purpose of this lesson is to delve into the foundation of mindfulness through exploring the nine attitudes as taught by Jon Kabat-Zinn. By understanding these attitudes, individuals can establish a strong foundation for a lifetime journey in mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the intentional practice of being fully present and engaged in the present moment, without judgment (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). It involves observing your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without being consumed by them. It’s about stepping back and taking a more measured approach to life, allowing you to respond to situations rather than react impulsively. It fosters an enhanced quality of life, greater resilience, and improved mental health.

The Nine Attitudes of Mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founding executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, has played a pioneering role in bringing mindfulness into mainstream medical practice. One of the cornerstones of his teaching is the concept of the “Nine Attitudes of Mindfulness.”

1. Beginner’s Mind

The concept of a beginner’s mind is rooted in Zen Buddhism and essentially refers to approaching life’s experiences as if for the first time. It’s about shedding preconceived notions and judgments that often cloud our understanding. By seeing things “as they are,” we can respond to life’s challenges with clarity rather than react out of habit or conditioning.

2. Non-Judging

Non-judging is about observing your thoughts and feelings without labeling them as ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ This is crucial because such judgments often lead to reactive behaviors that are not in line with our genuine needs or goals. Being non-judgmental allows for greater emotional regulation and healthier decision-making.

3. Acceptance

Acceptance does not mean passive resignation but rather involves acknowledging the reality of a situation or feeling. This is the first step towards constructive change. By accepting what is, we eliminate the emotional energy often wasted in denial or resistance, freeing ourselves to take informed action.

4. Letting Go

The practice of letting go is a liberation from the need to hold onto things, thoughts, or emotions. It is the realization that grasping or clinging is a source of suffering. Letting go doesn’t mean not caring, but rather releasing the tightness or tension that comes from wanting things to be different than they are.

5. Patience

Patience is a virtue in mindfulness as it allows you to be present without rushing towards a future moment. It encourages you to accept that things unfold in their own time, offering a pathway to inner peace.

6. Trust

Trust in mindfulness means having confidence in your own wisdom and intuition. It is the acknowledgment that you have the innate ability to handle various situations that arise in life. Trusting yourself creates a foundation for greater self-efficacy and resilience.

7. Non-Striving

Non-striving is about ‘being’ rather than ‘doing.’ It’s the understanding that not every moment is a means to an end but an end in itself. By adopting non-striving, you allow life to unfold naturally, reducing stress and enhancing wellbeing.

8. Gratitude

Gratitude in mindfulness practice is about appreciating the present moment and the fullness of life right now. It is a buffer against negative emotions and thought patterns, reinforcing emotional well-being.

9. Generosity

Generosity is not merely about giving material things but also about offering time, attention, and kindness. It is an outward expression of compassion, fostering interpersonal relationships and community wellbeing.


Incorporating these nine attitudes in your mindfulness practice can lay a robust foundation for a lifetime journey toward mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Understanding each of these attitudes and their underlying principles is essential for realizing the full benefits that mindfulness can offer.

By adopting these nine attitudes, you step onto a path of lifelong learning and self-discovery, one that is not just inward-focused but also greatly enriches your interactions with the world around you. Whether you’re new to mindfulness or have been practicing for years, these attitudes can deepen your practice and broaden your understanding of what it means to live mindfully.


  • Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. Hyperion.