NLP = Active Mindfulness
NLP = Active or Structured Mindfulness
NLP = Neuro-Linguistic Programing
Neuro - Brain/nervous system; Linguistic - Language; Programing - patterns and habits of thought, feeling, behaviours = exploring and transforming the patterns ("programs") in your mind/brain with language
NLP for both personal development and helping others, even in sales starts with detailed awareness of the structure of consciousness, your internal processes. Of course, you can be a psycho/sociopath or self avoiding by focusing your sensitivities on your partners/clients/customers. As an NLP helper for myself and others my focus starts with the flow of experience, of consciousness. This is mindfulness. The difference is NLP is a structured mindfulness where you ask questions as you go and realise the power of decision and intention to interfere with and direct your experience of yourself, therefore your behaviours and relationships. Mindfulness is mostly an unstructured process where you simply pay attention to the flow of your thoughts, feelings and sensations in response to whatever experience you're having. Most often in stillness, without distractions and so is not reflective of ordinary life.
Some versions of mindfulness are structured around types of sensation. The vipassana I learnt from Goenka 35 years ago was a structured feeling/touch process, NLP calls it by the scientific medical name kinesthetic. You start by feeling the top of your head and progressively moved down your body then upwards again from your feet, noticing the changing simply daily sensations of you being you in that moment without judgement.'Equanimity' was almost a mantra during the retreat. Change of any sort was the focus. Other forms of vipassana/mindfulness are very unstructured you simply sit with a listening attitude to any sensations, emotions and/or thoughts that come up in anyway, again giving attention to change. You don't interfere or ask questions to map the structure of that flow. It's an act of pure self love in which you allow yourself to be yourself as you are. It is a great practice, very powerful and important.
But Mindfulness, UNGUIDED, can be problematic if you have patterns of thoughts feelings and behaviours that are destructive for yourself and others. That's why I come across people who have impressive knowledge and control, charisma and still are abusive, end up with cult followings and don't challenge themselves intellectually, their morals and ideas on, say purification and perfection, leading to authoritarianism excluding anything they disagree with. They don't see disagreement and challenge as away of deepening and widening your understanding and relationships. Mindfulness can take you deeper into depression and other problems because your awareness of them get more intense. That's why mindfulness in it's original form is taught in a community of practitioners with an experienced elected leader in which argument and discussion about the meanings of sutras (sacred writings), practices and experiences is part of the practices.
NLP is the product of and develops out of the social project of knowledge creation that is science, as dis mindfulness and meditation. Like science NLP's core is feedback, that is testing your decisions, actions and attitudes against experience. Like mindfulness and mediation it understand that inner life thoughts and the resulting feelings are sensual in nature - visual, hearing, feeling, smell, taste and inner dialogue (words). In mediation visual techniques use yantra (complex imagined images), visual techniques had both music and mantra (chants), feelings were used yoga Nidra and vipassana. Mindfulness says it tries to avoid imagination, in the sense of controlling your inner experience, by focusing on whatever is going on in reality right now without directing it.
NLP being about interactive contemplation combines the two. It uses mindfulness's awareness of reality, the present, as a foundation, starting point and as a tester for feedback, then uses the focused imagination of meditation of meditation to direct the flow of consciousness. Mindfulness then measures the consequence of your actions, intentions on the flow of consciousness.