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117 mindfulness quotes (powerful, inspiring and real)

I feel incredibly blessed to have been studying mindfulness for the last few years, sharing what I’ve learned with our community. The mindfulness quotes I share below provide an incredible gateway to learning more about yourself through the lens of mindfulness.

Before we begin, a quick note.

I’ve used mindfulness to grow my awareness of myself through my experience of the present moment. Through doing this, I’ve come to a deeper understanding of what’s going on in my head and heart.

However, I’ve noticed that many people practicing mindfulness use it for building up their ego. For me, mindfulness has helped me to do the exact opposite. It’s enabled me to connect with the present moment in a very humble way, where I feel part of something far bigger than myself.

Therefore, I’ve personally selected the quotes below to help you arrive at a similar perspective. If you find it useful, I encourage you to sign up for our free masterclass on love and intimacy, where we share similar teachings.

You can either read through this article in its entirety, or use the table of contents to go straight to the theme you want to explore.

Quotes to help you practice mindfulness

The mindfulness quotes below have been really useful for reminding me that the practice of mindfulness is not complicated. You don’t need formal training. You just need to find a way to connect with what’s happening in the present moment.

“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

“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

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

“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

“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

“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

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness quotes

Mindfulness quotes on who you really are

I’m fascinated by the question: who am I? It’s been central to my own journey of personal development and is a key question we explore in our online workshop, Out of the Box.

The mindfulness quotes below all help to explore who you are through the lens of mindfulness.

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

“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

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“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

“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

“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

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

“Each of us has a different nature. We’re not supposed to think and live in the same way. Our uniqueness is sacred and must be respected.” – Rudá Iandê

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“Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day.”– John Wooden

“Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day.”– John Wooden

“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

Mindfulness quotes

Mindfulness quotes to help you connect with the present moment

You’d think the present moment is easy to connect with. After all, it’s all there is.

However, as soon as we start thinking of the present moment, we’re taken away from it by our thoughts. We try to hard to connect and wonder if we’re doing it properly.

Trust me, I understand the frustration of focusing on the present moment. That’s why I’ve used mindfulness to stop trying to hard and just appreciating what’s happening–even if I feel like I’m not doing it properly.

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I hope these mindfulness quotes on the present moment will inspire you to stop trying to be perfect and just connect with what’s happening right now.

“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

“Wherever you go, there you are.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

“To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

“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

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“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 present moment is the only time over which we have dominion.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

Mindfulness quotes

Mindfulness quotes on stress and life challenges

Who hasn’t experienced stress and challenges in life?

The beauty of mindfulness for me is that I don’t try to avoid stress in life. In fact, I welcome stress as an opportunity for personal growth.

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

“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

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“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

“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

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

Mindfulness quotes

Mindfulness quotes on anxiety

Anxiety is becoming a big problem for people in America. According to most recent estimates, anxiety disorders affect 18.1 percent of adults in the United States (approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54).

If you’re suffering from anxiety: don’t worry, you’re not alone. Below, I’ve selected the most powerful and enlightening quotes on mindfulness to help you soothe your anxiety.

“If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another. The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action that you experience.” – Deepak Chopra

“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.” – Buddha

“If you gathered up all the fearful thoughts that exist in the mind of the average person, looked at them objectively, and tried to decide just how much good they provided that person, you would see that not some but all fearful thoughts are useless. They do no good. Zero. They interfere with dreams, hopes, desire and progress.” – Richard Carlson

“As a doctor, let me tell you what self-love does: It improves your hearing, your eyesight, lowers your blood pressure, increases pulmonary function, cardiac output, and helps wiring the musculature. So, if we had a rampant epidemic of self-love then our healthcare costs would go down dramatically. So, this isn’t just some little frou-frou new age notion, oh love yourself honey. This is hardcore science.” – Dr. Christiane Northrop

“You can only lose what you cling to.” – Buddha

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” – Tao Te Ching

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” – Kurt Vonnegut

“People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on.” – Eckhart Tolle

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.” – Viggo Mortensen

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.” – Bruce Lee

“We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.” – John Newton

“Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind doing something that is productive.” – Ziggy Marley

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” – Winston Churchill

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” – Fred Rogers

Mindfulness quotes on making friends with yourself

It’s been really difficult for me to make friends with myself. I used to be my own worst enemy.

Then I learned how powerful is to develop a relationship with myself. In our free masterclass on love and intimacy, the shaman Rudá Iandê explains that when you start to truly love yourself, you develop a very powerful aura and will develop healthier relationships 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

“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

“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

“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

Mindfulness quotes to stop comparing yourself to others

I’ve included these mindfulness quotes because comparing myself to others was a major problem in my life. Doing this took me away from experiencing the fullness of the present moment.

These quotes by Osho are from his book, Mindfulness in the Modern World: How Do I Make Meditation Part of Everyday Life?

Taken together, these quotes provide an excellent introduction to mindfulness.

“Never compare. Comparison is one of the causes of keeping you tethered to the mundane, because comparison creates competition, comparison creates ambition. It does not come alone, it brings all its companions with it. And once you become competitive there is no end to it; you will end before it does. Once you become ambitious you have chosen the most stupid path for your life.” – Osho

“Whatever has been said about you by others, simply drop it. It is absolutely crap. They don’t know about themselves; what can they say about you which can be truthful? And the opinions that you have collected from others … just try to watch from whom you are collecting your opinions. They are not from a Gautam Buddha, or from a Jesus, or from a Socrates; they are from people who are as ignorant as you are. They are simply passing on others’ opinions that have been given to them.” – Osho

“Don’t do anything—no repetition of mantra, no repetition of the name of God—just watch whatever the mind is doing. Don’t disturb it, don’t prevent it, don’t repress it; don’t do anything at all on your part. You just be a watcher, and the miracle of watching is meditation. As you watch, slowly, slowly mind becomes empty of thoughts; but you are not falling asleep, you are becoming more alert, more aware. As the mind becomes completely empty, your whole energy becomes a flame of awakening. This flame is the result of meditation. So you can say meditation is another name of watching, witnessing, observing—without any judgment, without any evaluation. Just by watching, you immediately get out of the mind.” – Osho

“What is gain to the ego is loss to the soul. What is a blessing to the ego is a curse to the soul. What seems to be of tremendous importance to the ego is just sheer stupidity to the innermost core of your being.” – Osho

Mindfulness quotes from the Buddha

You can’t really study mindfulness without encountering some beautiful quotes from the Buddha.

It’s very difficult to be fully certain that the following quotes can be directly attributed to the Buddha. However, I wouldn’t read them thinking they are the direct words of the Buddha.

Rather, think of the Buddha as a concept that has lived throughout history, helping people to use mindfulness to develop their understanding of who they are. Keeping this in mind, I think you’ll find the following quotes contain a lot of wisdom.

“Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.” – Buddha

“Nothing is forever except change.” – Buddha

“Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.” – Buddha

“Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.” – Buddha

“With our thoughts we make the world.” – Buddha

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

“If you are facing in the right direction, all you need to do is keep on walking.” – Buddha

“The Way is not in the sky, the Way is in the heart.” – Buddha

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha

“You only lose what you cling to.” – Buddha

“Three things can not hide for long: the Moon, the Sun and the Truth.” – Buddha

“Attachment leads to suffering.” – Buddha

“Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.” – Buddha

“Be where you are, otherwise you will miss your life.” – Buddha

“If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.” – Buddha

Great thinkers sharing wisdom on mindfulness

Sometimes it’s fascinating to see what some of the world’s greatest thinks have to say about a topic. That’s why I’ve curated the following set of mindfulness quotes from some interesting figures in history.

“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 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

“Wherever you are, be there totally.” – Eckhart Tolle

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

“The intuitive recognition of the instant, thus reality… is the highest act of wisdom.” – D.T. Suzuki

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

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

“If you want to change the world, start with the next person who comes to you in need.” – B. D. Schiers

“My experience is that the teachers we need most are the people we’re living with right now.” – Byron Katie

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

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.” – Eckhart Tolle

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

“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

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

“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.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“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

“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 Chodran

“You have a treasure within you that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.” – Eckhart Tolle

“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

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

Jon Kabat-Zinn quotes on mindfulness

Have you heard of Jon Kabat-Zinn? You may not have heard of him, but he’s one of the reasons you’re interested in mindfulness. He created the first center for mindfulness in America.

He’s quite an influential proponent of mindfulness, so I have curated a number of his mindfulness quotes and organized them into themes. Enjoy!

Jon Kabat-Zinn on letting go and embrace life as it is

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

“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.”

“To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them, in the intrinsic stickiness of wanting, of liking and disliking.”

“See for yourself whether letting go when a part of you really wants to hold on doesn’t bring a deeper satisfaction than clinging.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn on what spirituality really means

“Perhaps the most “spiritual” thing any of us can do is simply to look through our own eyes, see with eyes of wholeness, and act with integrity and kindness.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn on meditation

“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.”

“From the perspective of meditation, every state is a special state, every moment a special moment.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn on mindful living

“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.”

“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.”

“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 on the present moment

“Wherever you go, there you are”

“Just watch this moment, without trying to change it at all. What is happening? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you hear?”

“To allow ourselves to be truly in touch with where we already are, no matter where that is, we have got to pause in our experience long enough to let the present moment sink in; long enough to actually feel the present moment, to see it in its fullness, to hold it in awareness and thereby come to know and understand it better.”

“There is just this moment. We are not trying to improve or to get anywhere else.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn on lokoing at things in a different way

“If we hope to go anywhere or develop ourselves in any way, we can only step from where we are standing. If we don’t really know where we are standing… We may only go in circles…”

“look at other people and ask yourself if you are really seeing them or just your thoughts about them…. Without knowing it, we are coloring everything, putting our spin on it all.”

We’re all unique, according to Jon-Kabat Zinn

“Note that this journey is uniquely yours, no one else’s. So the path has to be your own. You cannot imitate somebody else’s journey and still be true to yourself. Are you prepared to honor your uniqueness in this way?”

Jon Kabat-Zinn on embracing all your emotions

“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.”

“Practice sharing the fullness of your being, your best self, your enthusiasm, your vitality, your spirit, your trust, your openness, above all, your presence. Share it with yourself, with your family, with the world.”

A practical tip, by Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Make a list of what is really important to you. Embody it.”

On patience, by Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn on our intrinsic wholeness

“No matter how many scars we carry from what we have gone through and suffered in the past, our intrinsic wholeness is still here: what else contains the scars? None of us has to be a helpless victim of what was done to us or what was not done for us in the past, nor do we have to be helpless in the face of what we may be suffering now. We are also what was present before the scarring—our original wholeness, what was born whole. And we can reconnect with that intrinsic wholeness at any time, because its very nature is that it is always present. It is who we truly are.”

“Perhaps we just need little reminders from time to time that we are already dignified, deserving, worthy. Sometimes we don’t feel that way because of the wounds and the scars we carry from the past or because of the uncertainty of the future. It is doubtful that we came to feel undeserving on our own. We were helped to feel unworthy. We were taught it in a thousand ways when we were little, and we learned our lessons well.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn on our awareness

“Awareness is not the same as thinking. It is a complementary form of intelligence, a way of knowing that is at least as wonderful and as powerful, if not more so, than thinking.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn on love and kindness

“Our ability to touch love and kindness and be touched by them lies buried below our own fears and hurts, below our greed and our hatreds, below our desperate clinging to the illusion that we are separate and alone.”

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Written by Justin Brown

I'm Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod. I've overseen the evolution of Ideapod from a social network for ideas into a publishing and education platform with millions of monthly readers and multiple products helping people to think critically, see issues clearly and engage with the world responsibility.

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