I've been researching what the Buddha and Buddhist teachers have said about mindfulness. The Buddha taught that we should cultivate mindfulness of our bodies and the sensations in our bodies as well as of our mental processes and the phenomena in front of us.
I'm a bit hung up on the sensation part. I have tinnitus, which is a fancy word for "ringing in the ears." Except I don't hear ringing; I hear crickets. And of course they are not real crickets. It's just a sound being made in my head somehow that sounds like a field of crickets on a summer night.
I've learned to function with the noises in my head mostly by ignoring them, but this is not mindfulness, is it? Even during silent meditation, there is chirping. If I focus on it, it gets louder and louder and soon overwhelms all my other faculties. But most of the time, during normal daily activities, I don't notice it.
In my case the tinnitis has no apparent cause as well as no apparent cure. My doctor is very sympathetic -- he says he has it too, and for many years. You get used to it, he says.
Considering there are people who practice with chronic pain, I feel a bit sheepish complaining about tinnitis. My hearing isn't impaired, I don't think. It doesn't hurt. It's just a sound, and not unnecessarily an unpleasant sound. It just doesn't ever stop. The best I can do is acknowledge the sound and be mindful of other sounds as the imaginary crickets chirp away in the background.