Falling in love with yoga was easy… learning to love meditation and mindfulness was a MUCH rockier journey. But ever since the daily meditations at my YTT in India, my Vipassana retreat, and my Ayahuasca experience, mindfulness has become an integral practice for me, and mindfulness quotes have been guiding lights along the way, as well as self-love affirmations.
If you are looking for your own deep dive into mindfulness I really recommend these amazing silent retreats, but if you are after something a little less hardcore with more creature comforts these yoga retreats with meditation classes are a great option.
But the things about meditation? It’s f*ing hard. Sometimes I only count a few breaths. Sometimes I sit there distracted or hating on myself for 20-minutes straight. But I keep practicing. Why? There are so many amazing benefits to mindfulness. So how do I keep myself showing up to practice when it’s hard? I turn to awesome books about meditation, great teachers, and these inspiring mindfulness quotes! I find quotes super helpful, and I also use these yoga quotes and vegan quotes to hold myself accountable when I feel lost.
Let’s kick these mindfulness quotes off with a definition of mindfulness:
John Kabat-Zinn’s definition of mindfulness is probably the most famous and common one. Mindfulness is…
the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally
Kabat-Zinn pioneered the use of meditation in medical settings and demonstrated how mindfulness improves physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. A lot of contemporary mindfulness practices are based on his work. His definition shows how mindfulness is both something we can practice as a meditation style, like being present with the breath, but is also something that we can experience and implement in day-to-day life.
The following quotes about mindfulness come from some of the most influential meditation teachers and practitioners — ancient and contemporary, eastern and western, as well as a few surprising people. I picked quotes to help you with your mindfulness practice, mindfulness in everyday life, and how mindfulness helps with difficult feelings. Enjoy!
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Mindfulness Quotes for Meditation Practice
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.
― Thich Nhat Hanh, Stepping into Freedom: Rules of Monastic Practice for Novices
A short but sweet way to sum up a mindful breathing meditation practice. Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the most influential contemporary Buddhist monks and teachers. He has written many books that bridge the traditional texts and principles with modern life, without losing the authentic message.
Meditation is really quite simple. All we have to do is embrace each experience with awareness and open our hearts fully to the present moment. When we are completely at ease with our own being, the ripples of awareness naturally spread out in all directions, touching the lives of everyone we meet.
— Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
I’m not sure I would agree that meditation is simple — in theory yes, in practice not so much… but this quote about mindfulness reminds me that I practice not just for the benefit of myself, but the benefit of everyone I meet. Mingyur Rinpoche is a revered contemporary Tibetan Buddhist meditation teacher, and definitely someone I would love to practice with one day.
Whatever forms of meditation you practice, the most important point is to apply mindfulness continuously, and make a sustained effort. It is unrealistic to expect results from meditation within a short period of time. What is required is continuous sustained effort.
— Dalai Lama
An important reminder from the Dalai Lama to show up to practice! A regular practice is challenging but definitely worth it in the long run.
Mindfulness Quotes for Everyday Life
Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.
— Jack Kornfield, The Buddha’s Little Instruction Book
A powerful reminder from Jack Kornfield, an American meditation teacher, that every day we can start afresh!
You might be tempted to avoid the messiness of daily living for the tranquility of stillness and peacefulness. This of course would be an attachment to stillness, and like any strong attachment, it leads to delusion. It arrests development and short-circuits the cultivation of wisdom.
― Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
When you get those positive feelings from meditation, yoga, or any kind of spiritual practice, it can be really tempting to cut off from your life and just focus on those practices. But this quote shows that’s not actual wisdom or a truly spiritual life! Instead, we need to show up in the world with all the positive benefits of meditation.
Mindfulness Quotes for Difficult Feelings
There is no fear for one whose mind is not filled with desires.
— The Buddha, The Dhammapada (verse 39)
You can’t share quotes about mindfulness and not have something from the Buddha! Mindfulness practices have their roots in Buddhism, and Buddhism teaches that there are Seven Factors of Awakening and the first factor is Sati, the Pali word for mindfulness.
This quote connects the concepts of fear and desire, demonstrating how a still mind can free us from both of those feelings. Studying Buddhist scriptures can be challenging, but the Dhammapada, which is a collection of Buddha’s sayings, is a great place to start.
If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.
— Amit Ray, OM Chanting and Meditation
I’m no stranger to anxiety, and this quote about mindfulness is a small but mighty reminder of how important the breath is for anchoring me to the present moment. When you are truly present it is almost impossible to be anxious. Amit Ray is an Indian meditation teacher and spiritual master.
When we accept what is in this very moment, without pushing or pulling, when there is no running after or running away, we find in our practice a level of deep acceptance and peace.
Michael Stone was a phenomenal meditation teacher from my homeland of Canada, who passed away a few years back. This mindfulness quote beautifully sums up the inner-tensions and turmoil we experience, but once we find acceptance there is both presence and peace.
This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.
― Kristin Neff, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself
This quote is a powerful mantra for moments when you are struggling. I find it helpful in everyday life and during meditation. Dr Kristin Neff is a psychologist and long-time meditator specializing in self-compassion and teaching mindfulness-based techniques to cultivate greater self-compassion. As this meta-analysis paper shows, research in this field shows a strong correlation between higher levels of self-compassion and greater well-being.
Mindfulness Quotes about Freedom and Acceptance
Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything — anger, anxiety, or possessions — we cannot be free.
Another quote about mindfulness from Thich Nhat Hanh. This quote is a powerful reminder that difficult feelings, as well as craving and excessively holding onto possessions, traps us. When we learn to let go, there is peace and happiness on the other side.
Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart, is what I call Radical Acceptance.
Tara Brach is another esteemed contemporary meditation teacher and psychologist. The concept of radical acceptance has its roots with her and is a powerful mindfulness tool that encourages us to be present with what is occurring and find love and freedom in acceptance.
Rest in natural great peace
This exhausted mind,
by karma and neurotic thoughts,
Like the relentless fury
of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara
Rest in the natural great peace
— Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
This poem or prayer (depending on what you connect to most!) is attributed to the late Tibetan lama and teacher, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. I interpret the ‘natural great peace’ as the quality of mindfulness, a stillness free from churning thoughts. But above all, I think it is a really beautiful expression of buddhist concepts, such as Karma and Samsara, and the journey to peace we must struggle with in life.
Mindfulness Quotes from Surprising People
If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present… gratefully.
― Maya Angelou
This quote about mindfulness by Maya Angelou is an important message on how to live more fully and generously in the past and future, but above to be present. Maya Angelou was an American writer and Civil Rights Activist. She had an incredibly difficult life, and it is inspiring to read these words by her.
If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.
— William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
William Blake is known as an Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century poet, but he was also a deeply spiritual person. Although this isn’t explicitly about mindfulness, I really connect to the idea that when things become clear, such as a mindfulness practice enables, everything can be experienced as it truly is — without the mind coloring experience.
I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
— Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
Another Nineteenth-century poet with a spiritual streak! Not the most well-known lines from his most famous poem (‘I celebrate myself, and sing myself’ and ‘I am large, I contain multitudes’ ring any bells?), but these lines sum up mindfulness perfectly!
So that’s a wrap on my favorite quotes about mindfulness! Mindfulness and meditation really is the perfect complement to yoga, and if you are looking for some more yoga inspiration and resources check out these yoga poses you should practice every day, this guide to Kriya yoga, and these books about yoga for more inspiration 🙂
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