What is mindfulness?
Being in the present moment, accepting the situations as they are, awareness of the moment is what makes up a mindful person. You don’t need to become a yogi or a mystic practicing countless years of mediation to achieve a mindful mindset. It can be slowly and consistently achieved through the daily practice of self-discipline and being in the moment.
Mindfulness is something not to achieve outside our self but inside through the realization of the tremendous potential and glory associated with “BEING IN THE MOMENT”.
In contrast to meditation, here you never sit and maintain long hours of focussed breathing. Mindfulness can be done at any time of the day while walking, working, cooking, etc.
“Be here now”… Ram Dass
No amount of guilt for the past or an anxiety for the future can affect the nature of time-space reality. But awareness of the moment and delivering our best for what a particular moment requires from us make us the creator of a memorable past and lays down a template for an amazing future. It is at this very moment that all the cooperative components of the universe deliver their power through us.
Why should you practice mindfulness?
To practice undivided attention
Mindfulness can be said to be a state of having an undivided attention. Have you ever felt a sense of peace and satisfaction when your task finishes as per desire? More often than not if you look back to the attention span used during that time your attention must have been undivided.
Where your attention goes, power goes
When your attention divides, the autopilot mode operates automatically to make you do something which you never interned to do provided your conscious awareness was on.
“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
Chasing for cosmic help
Normally our thoughts overlap one over the other leaving no space in between blocking up the access to the creative power of the infinite potentiality. During a mediation session, we control our thoughts to reach a no thought state to access this space between thoughts paving a way for creativity.
Mindfulness offers the same creativity for our moment to moment awareness provided we inculcate it in our daily regimen.
Awareness of the conditioned beliefs
Conditioned beliefs are those that are ingrained in our minds right since birth and other outside influences such as environment, society, friends, etc. Mindfulness allows us to discern those false beliefs which do not define who we are.
“In today’s rush, we all think too much — seek too much — want too much — and forget about the joy of just being.” Eckhart Tolle
Five simple mindfulness exercises
Taken from the mindfulness book “The Miracle of Mindfulness- Thich Nhat Hanh”, below you can find some simple mindfulness exercises which can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. For every task listed below try to maintain a habit of following your in breath and out breath on occasions where attention wanders.
Start with listing down the tasks which you need to during a day. Then allocate a definite and substantial amount of time for each. Treat each task as the primary focus of concern during its allocated time.
For example, if you are arranging your bookshelf you must know the genre of the book, its color, author, etc. Allow an appropriate time for the task to be completed in the best possible way.
Slow motion bath:
Right from the preparation of the bath to the putting on of the clothes, you should enjoy every moment in the bath as if you are taking the bath in the elixir of youth, peace, and happiness. Be aware of the simple moments like the touch of water in your body, the smell of fragrances, the soap bubbles, etc. Taking bath this way will provide you with a meditative experience. This will not only reflect in your mood throughout the day but also on the other events lined up for the day.
So many times, we treat washing dishes a chore that we can’t get rid of and apply our best efforts to finish it as soon as possible and rush to more important things. But a mindful way is to treat each dish as an object of great reverence and contemplation where you notice with awareness each and every detail of how the water cleanses its impurities, the utensil shape, bubbles formed, etc.
For any food you intake, you should know the color, texture, and flavors associated with it. You should savor your meal as if nothing is more important than that meal of plate. Contemplate on it. Feel the emotions that come through. How you feel after eating the meal, is there any change of feeling, the processes and the people involved in bringing the meal to your plate, etc.
“a miracle is to walk on earth” Thích Nhất Hạnh
Be aware of the starting point and the destination. Feel the touch of your foot on the ground, at any moment when attention wanders bring it back with the help of breathing. Be aware of every minuscule sensation that walking on the earth brings to you. This awareness should be maintained till you reach your destination.
These mindfulness practices done daily will slowly and subtly change your beliefs about yourself, broaden your thinking patterns, and inculcate in you a feeling of compassion for not only others but for yourself too.