By Mary Jaksch
When the mind is neither in the past or the future and we are completely present, our experience changes in a significant way.
Suddenly life seems more spacious and more peaceful.
When we are mindful, we are available for life, and aren’t trapped in our own little world.
Whether it’s peacefulness, or anger, or boredom, or elation, or fear – mindfulness allows us to notice what we are experiencing right now.
Mindfulness means bringing full, soft attention to the task at hand.
All of us tend to let our mind drift when faced with a boring task. The good news is that if we pull ourselves back into the present moment, the task is transformed and boredom soon disappears. So, whether it’s washing the dishes, or cutting carrots, or driving in the rush hour – mindfulness can transform ‘lost’ time into islands of ease.
In his book The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh says:
The first function of mindfulness is to recognize what is there. The second function of mindfulness is to embrace it and to get deeply in touch with it.
The first step of mindfulness is to notice what our experience of this moment is like.
Whether it’s peacefulness, or anger, or boredom, or elation, or fear – mindfulness allows us to notice where we are at. But we need to go beyond that, we need to become intimate with what is there.
The second step of mindfulness is to connect so deeply that we become what we experience.
Pause for a moment, look away from the screen and take one complete, deep breath.
Did you experience your breath?
I expect you’ll say ‘yes’. But what about going deeper? Did you become the breath?
Thich Nath Hanh says:
There’s a seed of anger in every one of us. There is also a seed of fear, a seed of despair. And when the seed of anger or fear, we should be able to recognize it, to embrace it tenderly, and to transform it. And the agent of transformation and healing is called mindfulness.
Mindfulness has the power to transform clinging into generosity, anger into compassion, and isolation into intimacy.
It’s important to be compassionate towards the part of you that wants and wants and wants, and never gets what it yearns for. And with the part that is angry, or sullen, or resentful, or irritated. And with the part that is lonely, aloof, or preoccupied. Or with the part that is fearful, anxious, or rigid. Meet these parts of yourself with tender regard.
Here’s a simple way to practice mindfulness in everyday life:
Whenever you notice that your mind is straying away from the task at hand, stop for a moment. Then touch forefinger and thumb for one complete in-and out-breath. Then continue your task and notice what changes through becoming mindful.
What happens when you become mindful? Please share in the comments.