Mindfulness is a surprisingly simple, powerful way of experiencing our world.  Most people who try it initially have doubts that it could have any effect, precisely because it is so easy to do.  Yet, this humble practice has been extensively studied.  This state of simple, bare attention is known to be very healing, physically and emotionally, because it develops direct, experiential knowledge of how our minds interpret our world.  This process is called insight.

Mindfulness is different from meditation styles that focus on concentration.  In these styles, the attention is focused on a word, phrase or object.  As concentration developes, relaxation is experienced.  Trance states follow, and the mind and emotions are healed by resting in this state.

In mindfulness, a moderate state of concentration is developed, but then attention is directed toward the present moment.  As the present is directly experienced, insight into the true nature and workings of the mind and emotions grows.

You can try it right now:

Sit somewhere quiet, where you won't be disturbed.  Bring your attention to your breath.  Simply watch as your breath goes in and out.  When thoughts come, don't push them away, but don't engage them either.  Just notice them, and return your attention to the breath.

You can also bring your attention to the sensation of your feet touching the ground as you walk, to the sound of your knife as it chops vegetables, or the feeling of a paintbrush in your hand.  Any thing based in sensory experience of the present will work.

Mindfulness has been shown be beneficial in treating anxiety, depression, insomnia, and many other challenges of modern life.  After some practice, most people report an expansiveness, a peaceful feeling toward life in general, that tends to generalize to every waking moment.  There is no trance involved, and there is no struggle involved.  You don't have to "learn how to do it."  And the benefits start right away.