Mindfulness meditation is derived from Buddhist practice, but requires no knowledge of, or commitment to, any particular religious or philosophical system. It is a free-standing practice that the most devout atheist might use to advantage. In certain respects it resembles other meditational technqies such as TM, and its philosophical underpinnings remind one of the Stoic teachings of Epictetus, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius. The subjective state of mindfulness seems to overlap considerably with the "flow experience" described by Csikszentmihaly, and its practice facilitates the body-centered "focusing" form of self-exploration described by Gendlin.
Mindfulness is not a dissociative state, nor does it foster escapism. On the contrary, it helps maintain awareness of whatever is going on, internally and externally, just as it arises. It thus promotes greater tolerance for aversive feeling states such as fustration, delay, anxiety, depression, guilt, shame and anger. It may be practiced both formally (i.e., in scheduled daily or near-daily sessions) and informally (on the fly, so to speak). Much of the value of the formal work is to provide a solid foundation for the informal practice, from which the major long-term benefit is derived.
Linehan, Marsha M. Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. 1993, Guilford Press.
A comprehensive treatment of Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full Catastrophe Living. 1990, Delta Trade Paperbacks.
The UMass Medical Center's mindfulness-centered stress reduction program in book form, by the program's director.
Csikszentmihaly, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. 1990, Harper & Row.
Describes the "flow" state and how to attain it, together with extensive research background.
Gendlin, Eugene T. Focusing. 1979, Bantam Books.
Manual on how to find out what's on your mind by focusing on your body. Does what free association and the search for automatic thoughts are intended to do, but in my experience often does better.