A short blog post about infusing mindfulness into your daily life.
|Finding your mindfulness
Mindfulness is a simple concept. But it's hard. Being in the Here and Now is at the core of this concept. But it goes beyond just being present. It takes sensory perception to the next level. Let's say you meet someone new. Making eye contact is the first step. Then ensure that you don't allow your mind to wander. If the person is talking, listen. Don't think of what to say next. If you shake hands, allow the feeling of that touch to be whole. Notice the smells around. Notice your body language and voice.
If you feel hungry, don't ignore the feeling or try to suppress it until you find something to eat. Instead , feel the hunger. And when you do eat, feel the satiety. A simple everyday task takes on a new level with this heightened perception.
Practising mindfulness sounds easier than it really is. Those who have jobs that force them into mindfulness at least a few hours a day are blessed in more ways than they know. While discussing mindfulness with a paediatric surgeon, I realised that surgery was his mindfulness. Every sense was heightened. Distractions were not allowed. And that made him a brilliant surgeon in the theatre and a happier person outside it. An artist who sketches for a while each day and allows mindfulness to take over, has the same experience. A marathon runner feels the same when he trains early in the morning. Allowing yourself to be immersed in the moment is exhilarating and liberating at the same time.
Think about your own day. Do you have something that pushes you into mindful living at least for an hour everyday? What is it that makes you notice the smaller things? What is it that makes you so focussed on the present that the past and the future become a blur? If you have an answer, hold on to it. It is your happy place. Make sure you spend more and more time in it. Try and tune in even more. Allow every part of your being to be alive in that space and time.
On the other hand, if you cannot think of anything that puts you in such a space, you need to find it. Having a passion is more than just finding a hobby. It's about finding a space where nothing else matters. Where you use all your senses and live wholly, not merely exist. Even the humble tomato soup can lend itself to a mindful experience. Selecting and washing the tomatoes, cutting, cooking, grinding, tasting.. all the senses can be awakened if you immerse yourself in the process. Similarly, Writing can be mindful too..if you allow it to be.
This is probably the reason some people prefer old school methods over modern day technology. Imagine making yourself a cup of coffee. When you grind the beans, place them in a filter and allow the warm water to percolate into the cup, your senses awaken. You see, smell and touch even before you taste the coffee. But when you merely press a button on a coffee maker, you miss out on the beauty of the process. So it is with writing. When you fill your pen with ink, watch the colour rise, clean the tip, allow the nib to glide over a paper with just a gentle tug, you experience mindfulness. But when you turn on a button and start typing, most of the senses get left behind. This is the same reason some surgeons prefer their hands over robotic arms. The precision comes at the price of their sensory deprivation.
In effect, the world is fast moving towards fast, effective but 'mindless' living. It's imperative to find your own mindfulness and to revel in it even in the smallest possible ways. It is a simple, direct and effective route to long lasting joy.
(C) Dr. Kinjal Goyal