Another name for present-moment awareness and living in the Now, mindfulness is a state of active observation. It slows down time, helps gather our vital energy resources where it belongs (in our body, right now) and aids us in detaching ourselves from thoughts (and their subsequent emotions) that engender suffering.
Here are five easy ways to promote greater mindfulness in your day:
Eating – Consider the food or meal before you. How does it look? How does it smell? If it’s a finger food, how does it feel? Take a bite of your food. Chew slowly. Savor it. How does it taste? How does the texture feel in your mouth? What is the temperature? Think about where your food came from. What kind of effort can you imagine went into producing the meal before you? Look at your place setting. What does the silverware look like? The plate or bowl? Take another bite. Continue to chew slowly and deliberately as you eat.
Reading – Consider the book in your hand? What does the cover look like? How heavy is the book? How is it bound? What is the author’s name? Say it aloud to yourself. Listen to the sound of the consonants. Open the book. How do the pages feel? How do they smell? What kind of binding is used? What kind of font are the words? Are the words large, or small? Begin to read the book. How does the author use language? How does the word choice make you feel? How are the words used to persuade? Inform? Entertain?
Outdoors – Go outside. Listen to the variety of birdsong around you. How many different types of birds can you hear? Are there voices in your line of hearing? Children laughing? Conversation? Are there lawnmowers, snowblowers, sirens or back-up beeps? Is there traffic? What about dogs barking, doors slamming or engines backfiring? Observe the color of leaves, tree bark, house siding, the street signs.
Indoors – How does the carpet feel under your feet? What about the wood or cement under your shoes? What color are the walls? What is the texture of the ceiling above you? What is the temperature in the room? Does the air feel cool, hot or comfortable? Is the air fresh? Stale? Scented? How is the future arranged? Are there plants? Pictures? Sculptures? Book cases? Tables? How does the upholstery feel to your touch? What is the lighting like?
Body – Really feel your body, this magnificent shell your Spirit resides in. Become aware of the hair on our head, on your arms. Look at your hands. Notice the lines, any spots or markings. Note the smoothness or roughness of your skin. What do your nails look like? Feel your toes, the bottoms of your feet. Scan your body. What aches or tension are you holding in your body? Relax your muscles. Become aware of your breath. How’s your breathing? Deep? Shallow? Breathe deeply. Think of the thousands of functions that your body performs every day, without your help or interference, to keep you alive and well. Be grateful for your body, this physical expression of your Spirit.
How do you incorporate mindfulness into your day? Please share your tips with us!