In terms of using your physical brain, mindfulness asks that you deliberately shift control of your thoughts and actions from your limbic system — the ancient, instinctual “reptilian” brain — to the conscious awareness of your frontal lobe. The frontal lobe of your brain is essentially your “humanness.” It is why we humans have the big foreheads that protrude out and our primate cousins don’t.
The very front part of the frontal lobe, the prefrontal cortex (PFC), has evolved to function beyond the basic bodily and survival concerns of the brainstem and beyond the emotional concerns of the limbic system. Your higher mental processes take place in the PFC. In this prefrontal realm, your brain creates complex concepts, such as time, your sense of self, and moral judgments. This is also where mindfulness happens in your brain.