I find it quite scary when I listen to what people are trying to cram into their days.
We miss so much of what is good in life when we race through at break-neck speed, with our thoughts unfocused and our bodies as tense as guitar strings. When you don’t have a second to call your own let alone an hour to meditate, the result is a very unhealthy lifestyle
Being mindful, or simply being aware of our circumstances, pulls us into the present. We are no longer thinking about a dreadful meeting we have just had with our boss or all the work we have to do when we get home. We take the opportunity to simply ‘be’ in the present albeit for a short amount of time. But better than nothing at all. The present is really all we have and we should take relish it.
You really have no excuse whatsoever for not doing this one! Breathing is life. You are breathing all the time and so wherever you are just remember to pay attention to that breathing for a while. Breathe in deeply, but don’t force the breath. When you reach full capacity, hold the breath for a count of five and then release the breath without exertion. Take note of the breath as it enters, is it warm or cold on your nostrils. Then as you exhale feel the breath leaving your body and let it flow naturally back into the universe.
Choose something in your immediate surroundings. It could be a flower or an animal, or it could be the sun, moon or raindrops. Just notice it in a way you have never done before. Explore every aspect of it and begin to feel connected in some way. If other thoughts intrude, just push then gently to one side until you have finished your observations.
Listening is a forgotten art. In addition to the mind chatter in our heads that goes on 24/7, we are often bombarded by the sounds of life going on around us – traffic, people shouting, doors banging, TV’s blaring. To listen mindfully means to cut through the cacophony and go in search of the small sounds – the bird singing in the early morning, the rustle of the leaves on the trees or the sound of the sea lapping on the shore or the river chattering as it goes along its way. Go with it. Don’t try to give it a name or describe it, simply enjoy it.
Think of all the things that you come into contact with in the course of your day. Your feet touch the floor as you get out of bed – be grateful for that contact. Your fingers touch the tap as you switch it on to wash your face – be grateful for that contact. Our skin comes into contact with hundreds of objects and sensations as we go about our lives. Start to become aware of how things feel and be appreciative of the sense of touch that we so often take for granted.
Explore, be curious and be mindful. Experience your surroundings to the full. The results will be that you become less stressed, more creative and more appreciative of the smaller things in life. It’s worth trying to incorporate some mindfulness into your days, firstly for the benefit of yourself, and secondly, for those close to you.