All consciousness involves awareness in the sense of a knowing or experiencing of an object. But with the practice of mindfulness, awareness is applied at a special pitch. The mind is deliberately kept at the level of bare attention, a detached observation of what is happening within us and around us in the present moment. In the practice of right mindfulness the mind is trained to remain in the present, open, quiet, and alert, contemplating the present event. All judgements and interpretations have to be suspended, or if they occur, just registered and dropped. The task is simply to note whatever comes up and just as it is occurring, riding the changes of events in the way a surfer rides the waves of the sea. The whole process is a way of coming back into the present, of standing in the here and now without slipping away, without getting swept away by the tides of distracting thoughts.
– Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Noble Eightfold Path