Initially, when you first become aware of anything, there is an instant in the mind just before you identify the object of your awareness and develop a concept of it. This state is very short lived and can be just a split second, before you focus mentally and visually on the thing, living or otherwise. Once this moment is gone your mind takes over, and you start thinking about the thing. It is this moment before your mind takes over that you are in a state of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is likened to peripheral vision, when you become aware that there is something coming into your field of vision, without realizing what it is. It is only when it comes into your central field of vision that you know what you are observing. It is this state of awareness that gets lost as soon as you start thinking about a thing or concentrating your other senses on it. Some techniques can be used to prolong this moment of awareness and which can change the way you look, perceive and feel the universe and all that happens in it.
Mindfulness reflects whatever is going on in the present and in the exact way it is going on. There is no thought attached which can give you any bias, and this leads to the observation that is completely non-judgmental. The mind then observes without criticism, and you are able to look at things without being in anyway judgmental or wanting to condemns or praise things. There is then no surprise and we see everything as it is in its natural state. No decisions are made and no opinions are formed and thus there is no judgment.
It is the way a scientist looks at things under a microscope and only observes things as they are. Mindfulness allows us to see our fears only after we have accepted the fact that there is something that has caused us to be afraid. You can recognize fears and any cause of depression only when you are prepared to accept that you have this fear. The same is the case for any other states of the mind we are uncomfortable with like any frustration, irritation or agitation. You can only look at things in detail if you accept that these states of the mind exist. You then learn to take everything that has occurred in your life. Mindfulness can be likened to impartial watchfulness that takes no sides.