Is the practice of being aware of the present moment. Usually achieved through focusing on something like your breath.
One thing to realize here is that you are not in control of your thinking. You are simply an observer to whatever happens and whatever your mind produces. Sometimes it produces wonderful things but more often than not it can produce anxiety and other nasty things that you have no say over. Unless of course you just observe them and let them pass through like clouds in the sky.
Treating thoughts and thinking in this way is incredibly freeing. Not getting attached to what you think. And not getting attached to anything is incredibly empowering feeling. But it is something that you have to practice often.
I like to practice mindfulness through journaling my thoughts in my diary. I wrote about it here.
I do want to start more focused mindfulness and trying to practice channeling my focus. I do build my personal system of productivity and happiness around this idea of less thinking, more happiness. I try to cultivate good thoughts and let bad thoughts pass by. I focus on the present moment and try to take the best from the cards I have been dealt. And more importantly I try to be proactive with life. Great things won't happen if you sit idly waiting for things to happen. You either have to go out and find these great things or make your own.
I use my Apple Watch to quickly start small 1/3/5 min timers where I focus on my breath and bring my mind into place whenever I find myself getting distracted and not doing the task I need to do. I also use Oak iOS app for longer and sometimes guided sessions of focused mindfulness. In all cases I focus on my breath and distill my mind by silently observing my breath and thoughts and not attaching to anything in the process.
I don't know any meditator or teacher worth their weight in salt who advocates stopping thinking. Not only is it practically impossible, it implies a deeply maladaptive relationship to thought, i.e., that thought itself is undesirable. Rather, we need to transform our relationship to thoughts; not identify with them but dispassionately observe them as self-arising objects of perception, rather than facts of existence that define who and what we are. Not only that, but question their origins and the underlying beliefs that motivate them. Mindfulness is a very different thing from "stop thinking." "Stop thinking" implies an act of violence to the self, rather than gentle self-compassion.
If the mind is concentrated, we do not hear sounds, we do not see anything all our senses are in abeyance. External sounds, external vision, all external sense perceptions, therefore, can be overcome by concentration; and intensity of concentration leads to meditation.
Don’t judge your thoughts, don’t associate yourself with them, don’t let them create your identity. What skills you have, you physical appearance, just about anything, is your current reality and you don’t have to repeat it to yourself to know it. ‘I am good’ or ‘I am bad’ is not reality, it’s just your imagination of yourself that is subjective and interchangeable in a split second. Just drop those thoughts. Let them pass through you until they lose momentum. Don’t attach yourself to them. Just be.
Suffering is caused by attachment; desiring things to stay as they are, despite the inevitability of change, or desiring things be other than they are, despite the inevitability of things simply being as they are. Suffering comes from us desiring something other than reality. In this sense, it is optional. I am here referring to the Buddhist conception of suffering, dukkha, and its cessation through non-attachment (different from detachment, which is dissociation/escapism). The more colloquial definition of suffering may be something like extended experiences of pain but is not really what most mean when discussing suffering with respect to meditation.