101 Inspiring Mindfulness Quotes to Live By

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"Living 24 hours with mindfulness is more worthwhile than living 100 years without it."

- The Buddha

Mindfulness practice, at its foundation, is simple and straightforward (at least, the how, actually doing the practice can be another story).

However, the practice of mindfulness is really our whole life. It's mindfulness practice which allows us to become more awake to our life as a whole and uncover countless insights that have a real and significant impact on the quality of our day-to-day life.

For this reason, mindfulness practice touches every aspect of our life. It includes what goes on within us, from the story we tell ourselves in our day-to-day life with thoughts and imaginations and the myriad of feelings we experience such as fear, anger, and sadness to the sensations we feel in the body and how the mind and body are really interconnected as one whole, sensations affecting the mind and thoughts and feelings affecting the body.

However, it goes much further than that. It can change our relationship with loved ones for the positive, improving our patience and priming us for greater understanding, compassion, and loving-kindness.

Years ago, mindfulness and meditation practice changed my life in real and significant ways and it continues to do so today (some of which are associated with what I mentioned above).

The words below might seem like simply enjoyable blurbs either confirming your life's experiences or beliefs or insightful reading which can open your mind to a new idea. And they are exactly that.

However, the quotes below, for those sincerely interested in mindfulness and meditation practice, can even help show you how to practice (or, at least, improve your practice or clear up a misconception).

For that reason, everyone should find something of value.

101 Inspiring Mindfulness Quotes to Live By

The below quotes are categorized mostly for ease of reading and enjoyment. Keep in mind that some of these quotes are related to mindfulness and mindfulness practice itself and others to the insights you can discover as a result of it.

Categories include: Mindfulness Practice (quotes associated with the practice itself), Insights (as in, insights which mindfulness practice can lead to and are associated with), The Peace and Miracle of This Moment, The Movie of Our Life (the way we "add" to the reality of our life with thoughts and feelings), Stress, Anxiety, and Challenge, and Making Friends with Yourself and Being with Others.

Enjoy these 101 inspiring mindfulness quotes...

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Mindfulness Practice

“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.”

- Sylvia Boorstein

“The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is.”

- Eckhart Tolle

“Meditation is to be aware of what is going on: in your body, in your feelings, in your mind, and in the world.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”

- James Baraz

“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.”

- Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh

“We might begin by scanning our body . . . and then asking, "What is happening?" We might also ask, "What wants my attention right now?" or, "What is asking for acceptance?”

- Tara Brach

“Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing.”

- Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Being mindful means that we suspend judgment for a time, set aside our immediate goals for the future, and take in the present moment as it is rather than as we would like it to be.”

- Mark Williams

“Each step along the Buddha’s path to happiness requires practising mindfulness until it becomes part of your daily life.”

- Henepola Gunaratana

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”

- Sharon Salzberg

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh

“Every time we become aware of a thought, as opposed to being lost in a thought, we experience that opening of the mind.”

- Joseph Goldstein

“Concentration is a cornerstone of mindfulness practice. Your mindfulness will only be as robust as the capacity of your mind to be calm and stable. Without calmness, the mirror of mindfulness will have an agitated and choppy surface and will not be able to reflect things with any accuracy."

- Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor."

- Thich Nhat Hanh

“The greatest communication is usually how we are rather than what we say.”

- Joseph Goldstein

“Meditation is essentially training our attention so that we can be more aware— not only of our own inner workings but also of what’s happening around us in the here & now.”

- Sharon Salzberg

“Wherever you are, be there totally.”

- Eckhart Tolle

“The idea has come to me that what I want now to do is to saturate every atom. I mean to eliminate all waste, deadness, superfluity: to give the moment whole; whatever it includes. Say that the moment is a combination of thought; sensation; the voice of the sea. Waste, deadness, come from the inclusion of things that don't belong to the moment; this appalling narrative business of the realist: getting on from lunch to dinner: it is false, unreal, merely conventional.”

- Virginia Woolf

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”

- Jon Kabat-Zinn

“What you are looking for is what is looking.”

- Joseph Goldstein

“Do every act of your life as though it were the last act of your life.”

- Marcus Aurelius

“If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. That is very serious!”

- Thich Nhat Hanh

“Meditate … do not delay, lest you later regret it.”

- The Buddha

“Mindful and creative, a child who has neither a past, nor examples to follow, nor value judgments, simply lives, speaks and plays in freedom.”

- Arnaud Desjardins

“Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”

- Chuang

“You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

- Jon Kabat-Zinn

“When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.”

- Shunryu Suzuki

“Practice is this life, and realization is this life, and this life is revealed right here and now.”

- Maezumi Roshi

"Emotion arises at the place where mind & body meet. It is the body's reaction to mind."

- Eckhart Tolle

"Use every distraction as an object of meditation and they cease to be distractions."

- Mingyur Rinpoche

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“Now is the future that you promised yourself last year, last month, last week. Now is the only moment you’ll ever really have. Mindfulness is about waking up to this.”

- Mark Williams

“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.”

- Ramana Maharshi

“Ardently do today what must be done. Who knows? Tomorrow, death comes.”

- The Buddha

“Wanting to reform the world without discovering one’s true self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes.”

- Ramana Maharshi

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

- Thích Nhat Hanh

“As I noticed feelings and thoughts appear and disappear, it became increasingly clear that they were just coming and going on their own. . . . There was no sense of a self owning them.”

- Tara Brach

“Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are.”

- Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”

- Carl Jung

“Knowledge does not mean mastering a great quantity of different information, but understanding the nature of mind. This knowledge can penetrate each one of our thoughts and illuminate each one of our perceptions.”

- Matthieu Ricard

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”

- Eckhart Tolle

“Perhaps ultimately, spiritual simply means experiencing wholeness and interconnectedness directly, a seeing that individuality and the totality are interwoven, that nothing is separate or extraneous. If you see in this way, then everything becomes spiritual in its deepest sense. Doing science is spiritual. So is washing the dishes.”

- Jon Kabat-Zinn

"Reality is only an agreement - today is always today."

- Zen Proverb

“Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh

"The significance is hiding in the insignificant. Appreciate everything."

- Eckhart Tolle

“As long as we have practiced neither concentration nor mindfulness, the ego takes itself for granted and remains its usual normal size, as big as the people around one will allow.”

- Ayya Khema

“Throughout this life, you can never be certain of living long enough to take another breath.”

- Huang Po

“Be happy in the moment, that's enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”

- Mother Teresa

“If you live the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion.”

- Linji Yixuan

“We have only now, only this single eternal moment opening and unfolding before us, day and night.”

- Jack Kornfield

“Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretense.”

- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

“Guilt, regret, resentment, sadness & all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past & not enough presence.”

- Eckhart Tolle

“It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”

- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“Mindfulness, the Root of Happiness”

- Joseph Goldstein

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The Peace and Miracle of this Moment

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking out new landscapes but in having new eyes."

- Marcel Proust

“I’m here to tell you that the path to peace is right there, when you want to get away.”

- Pema Chödrön

“Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child - our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh

“This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

- Alan Watts

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh

“Pure awareness transcends thinking. It allows you to step outside the chattering negative self-talk and your reactive impulses and emotions. It allows you to look at the world once again with open eyes. And when you do so, a sense of wonder and quiet contentment begins to reappear in your life.”

- Mark Williams

“The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.”

- Tara Brach

“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”

- Henry Miller

“Today, you can decide to walk in freedom. You can choose to walk differently. You can walk as a free person, enjoying every step.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh

“In today’s rush, we all think too much — seek too much — want too much — and forget about the joy of just being.”

- Eckhart Tolle

"Each morning we’re born again

of yesterday nothing remains

what’s left began today."

- Palladas

“Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the small uncaring ways.”

- Stephen Vincent Benet

“The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.”

- Alan Watts

“What would it be like if I could accept life--accept this moment--exactly as it is?”

- Tara Brach

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The Movie of Our Life

“What is it about our expectations, plans, or ideas that hold such sway over us? It is as if we've written a script for a play of our lives that runs about a month ahead of actual life; if reality varies from what we've created in our minds we disengage or pout.”

- Holly Sprink

“Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.”

- Robin S. Sharma

“Mindfulness, also called wise attention, helps us see what we’re adding to our experiences, not only during meditation sessions but also elsewhere.”

- Sharon Salzberg

"The fundamental cause of grasping and rejecting, the source of all our pain, relies upon taking things –all our mental projections– as real."

- Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche

“We use mindfulness to observe the way we cling to pleasant experiences & push away unpleasant ones.”

- Sharon Salzberg

“It’s not about approving or liking, but just being able to allow the world to be the way it is without resenting, hating, or judging it.”

- Buddhism Now

“My experience is that many things are not as bad as I thought they would be.”

- Mary Doria Russell

“Suffering usually relates to wanting things to be different than they are.”

- Allan Lokos

“To diminish the suffering of pain, we need to make a crucial distinction between the pain of pain, and the pain we create by our thoughts about the pain. Fear, anger, guilt, loneliness and helplessness are all mental and emotional responses that can intensify pain.”

- Howard Cutler

"No one has ever been angry at another human being we're only angry at our story of them."

- Byron Katie

“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it.”

- Eckhart Tolle

"We cannot be present and run our story-line at the same time."

- Pema Chödrön

"Every problem perceived to be 'out there' is really nothing more than a misperception within your own thinking."

- Byron Katie

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Stress, Anxiety, and Challenge

“Few of us ever live in the present. We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.”

- Louis L'Amour

“We withdraw from our experience of the present moment. We pull away from the raw feelings of fear and shame by incessantly telling ourselves stories about what is happening in our life.”

- Tara Brach

“The standard way of reducing stress in our culture is to put as much energy as possible into trying to arrive at a moment that matches our preferences. This ensures that we feel some level of stress until we get there (assuming we ever will) and worse, it makes the present moment into an unacceptable place to be.”

- David Cain

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”

- Amit Ray

“Pain is not wrong. Reacting to pain as wrong initiates the trance of unworthiness. The moment we believe something is wrong, our world shrinks and we lose ourselves in the effort to combat the pain.”

- Tara Brach

“We must be willing to encounter darkness and despair when they come up and face them, over and over again if need be, without running away or numbing ourselves in the thousands of ways we conjure up to avoid the unavoidable.”

- Jon Kabat-Zinn

“We do so much, we run so quickly, the situation is difficult, and many people say, "Don't just sit there, do something." But doing more things may make the situation worse. So you should say, "Don't just do something, sit there." Sit there, stop, be yourself first, and begin from there.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh

"If you aren't in the moment, you are either looking forward to uncertainty, or back to pain and regret."

- Jim Carrey

“Stepping out of the busyness, stopping our endless pursuit of getting somewhere else, is perhaps the most beautiful offering we can make to our spirit.”

- Tara Brach

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Making Friends with Yourself and Being with Others

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”

- Pema Chodron

“All beings want to be happy, yet so very few know how. It is out of ignorance that any of us cause suffering, for ourselves or for others”

- Sharon Salzberg

“The energy of mindfulness has the element of friendship and loving kindness in it.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh

“By learning to allow different types of discomfort to simply stay in the room with you, without your scrambling for a button to push (real or metaphorical), you make discomfort matter less.

The pool of things you’re afraid of shrinks. It becomes a lot less important to control circumstances, because you know you can handle moments of uncertainty or awkwardness or disappointment without an escape plan.”

- David Cain

“Look at other people and ask yourself if you are really seeing them or just your thoughts about them.”

- Jon Kabat-Zinn

“We often have very little empathy for our own thoughts and feelings and frequently try to suppress them by dismissing them as weaknesses.”

- Mark Williams

“Essentially, meditation allows us to live in ways that are less automatic. This necessarily means less time spent worrying, ruminating, and trying to control things we can’t control. It means we become less vulnerable to the throes of the fear-driven, older parts of our brains, and freer to use our newer and more sophisticated mental abilities: patience, compassion, acceptance and reason.”

- David Cain

"Acknowledging the pain and the suffering that take place inside you, and allowing the feelings, will take time, but this new way of handling these feelings will change the way you relate to you and to the outside world.”

- Kelly Martin

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh

"Somehow I always seem to forget the most powerful tool I have in my parenting arsenal: myself. My presence.”

- Carla Naumburg

Begin Your Adventure into Mindfulness

I hope you enjoyed this list of some of my favorite quotes on mindfulness practice and the insights that come with it. Now, it's time to move from idea to application and begin (or take further) your own mindfulness practice.

By signing up to the Buddhaimonia newsletter you can get a free high-quality eBook download of my first book, The Little Book of Mindfulness.

For those interested in learning the practice of mindfulness for themselves, The Little Book of Mindfulness will teach you everything you need to get started in a simple, clear, and straightforward way.