Writer and neuroscientist Sam Harris on the benefits of Vipassana meditation as a gateway to mindfulness:
[Vipassana meditation] needn’t presuppose any belief about anything. You don’t have to develop a fondness for the iconography of Buddhism, you don’t have to care about the Buddha, you don’t have to believe in rebirth or karma… none of the doctrine of Buddhism need be adopted in order to get the practice off the ground, and never need be adopted if it never makes any sense—which much of it doesn’t.
And you don’t have to add anything strategically to your experience as a mechanism by which to meditate. You’re not adding a mantra, you’re not visualizing something that isn’t there, you don’t have to look at a candle flame or do anything to your environment by way of artifice to create the circumstance of meditation.
All you’re doing is paying exquisitely close and non-judgmental attention to whatever you’re experiencing anyway. […] Mindfulness is just that quality of mind that allows you to pay attention to sights and sounds and sensations and even thoughts themselves without being lost in thought and without grasping at what is pleasant and pushing what is unpleasant away.