If you don't know what you are doing, you can't have control over what is you want.Training your mindfulness is necessary because your mind wanders most of the time in the day to save energy. Taking back control from the autopilot mode can be eye-opening. Instead of jumping from one space to another we can remain at the center of awareness.
Awareness of present-moment experience and stability of attention are often regarded as core skills for training the mind. Most training in any meditation tradition therefore starts with training your attentiveness to perceptions of the mind: this attentiveness involves complex skills such as paying attention (awareness), but also paying attention to how you are paying attention (meta-awareness) and even your perception of sensations from inside the body (interoception). Traditionally training of those skills were referred to as “sati” or “shamata”.
Don’t get confused by the hundred million ways mindfulness is used today. Talking about mindfulness can be confusing. Some use the term mindfulness as a stand-in for any and all kinds of meditation. And in popular usage, mindfulness can refer to meditation in general, despite the fact that mindfulness is but one of a wide variety of methods. A look at the origins can give us a better understanding.
Mindfulness started its journey as the most common English translation of the Pali language’s word sati. Sati can be translated in many other ways—“awareness,” “attention,” “retention,” even “discernment. So as long as you know that mindfulness is training your attention and awareness you are safe.
Mindfulness Training has a hundred faces: A simple body scan, counting the breath, Tai Chi, Yoga Asana Practice. All of those are practices to tame your thoughts & be aware where your wandering mind is. One of my favorite ways to train mindfulness and thus awareness, meta-awareness & interoception is by using the wheel of awareness meditation developed by Dr. Dan Siegel. I recorded it here so you could try it.
By training your mindfulness you are training your Capacity for Awareness, Meta-awareness & Interoception. In other words, you are training your attention, and your attention of your attention and your bodily intelligence. You can move from being on autopilot towards being in control of your mind and actions.