The word, ‘mindfulness’ means ‘right meditation.’ In the west, any passive practice that does not engage the mind actively (like breath change, mantra, etc.) is the mindfulness practice. The mindfulness discovers our true nature. The true natureis peace, happiness, love, wisdom and pure awareness. Because mind veils the true nature due to the influx of thoughts, a method that empties the contents of the mind (removes the veil) is mindfulness. The passive method means we do not ask the mind to do anything and separate the contents of the mind.
The three great masters – Kapila (3000 BC), Patanjali(480BC) and Buddha (450BC) defined mindfulness differently but based on the non-changing principles of eastern wisdom.
Kapila defines mindfulness :
Meditation is emptiness (state) of mind
The Patanjali says:
Emptying the contents of the mind is meditation.
Buddhism in his noble eightfold path explains “mindfulness” as the seventh step. The Mindfulness what people call it is termed – Samyaka Smriti. If one translates the two words literally, it means – the right memory.
In the waking state – there is consciousness (awareness) and thoughts or contents of the mind. In the dream state, there is unconsciousness and contents. In the sleep state, there is neither consciousness (awareness) nor contents of the mind. This metaphor is given for understanding the meditation only. The ancient masters declare that there is the fourth state that they named in Sanskrit as Turiya. The word Turiya means – fourth. These masters avoided all confusions and conflicts by naming the meditative state as the fourth state of consciousness.