Mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness of experience without evaluation or judgment. Mindfulness is presence to this moment and to what is happening in it, right now, with openness.
When we practice mindfulness, we can direct our attention to the present moment, using our conscious awareness to observe whatever is happening in this moment, and we try as best we can to refrain from evaluating or judging what is there. This involves observing and letting things be as they are, not reacting to or trying to change anything in a particular moment, but instead allowing what is there to be there — to tune in to and be present with that.
Awareness of what is happening in the present moment can include just about anything–feelings, sensations, thoughts, sounds, colours, or other details of the world you exist in in any given moment: all can become an observation in your awareness. When practicing mindfulness, we can give our attention an anchor, something for it to try to focus on, such as our breath, an object (like a candle, a leaf, or a stone), or a sound. Because we refrain from judging as good or bad whatever we observe, mindfulness can be thought of as “observing and only observing” (see Paul Gilbert, 2009). It is a particular way of being present to and relating to experience.