This paper represents an attempt to highlight the paradoxes of mindfulness practice. Because mindfulness is a subtle form of awareness that does not stem from rational cognitive thought, its practice often involves embracing contradictions in a way that transcends logic. We first define mindfulness as involving three core aspects: intention, attention, and attitude. We then highlight four paradoxes of mindfulness that we believe to be especially salient for the field: (1) Acceptance vs. Change, (2) Escape vs. Engagement, (3) Effort vs. Non-Striving, (4) Self-Focus vs. Non-Self. Finally, we discuss the importance of ongoing dialog about these paradoxes both for practitioners and for those teaching mindfulness in clinical contexts.
KeywordsMindfulness Paradox Self-compassion Acceptance Change
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human Participants and Animal Studies
There was no research involving human participants and/or animals.
There was no informed consent.
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