becoming mindful (because i am certainly not there yet)


look around and you’ll see plenty of references to mindfulness these days. a few books have hit the best seller lists, it’s a buzzword among the wellness crowd, even one of the safety programs we have at work is based on a mind on task approach.


this morning, i finally threw out the toothbrush i’ve been meaning to get rid of for a week. every time i have started to use it, i’ve sworn it would be the last time. yet, the next time i’d go into the bathroom to brush, there it was, standing right beside the new one. (i know and kevin said it already, i could just throw the thing out before using it, but somehow it’s just a pattern imprinted on my brain that it makes the best sense to throw it out after the act. i can’t justify it.) that toothbrush being back its place every time and day after day served as reminder that i’d slept straight through the plan again the last time i’d wanted to execute it. it proves that i’m essentially losing five minutes of my life every time i tend to my dental hygiene. it’s the polar opposite of being in the moment and that’s what bugs me.

The Buddha advocated that one should establish mindfulness (satipatthana) in one’s day-to-day life maintaining as much as possible a calm awareness of one’s bodily functions, sensations (feelings), objects of consciousness (thoughts and perceptions), and consciousness itself. The practice of mindfulness supports analysis resulting in the arising of wisdom. ~ mindfulness, as reported by wikipedia

mindfulness is all the talk these days. i understand that and i honestly think even more attention needs to be turned to the practice. we are all so busy running around all day and so much of our time is lost that way. the most common adage is arriving home from work and not remembering the ride in between. we’ve all done that, right?

i’m guilty of not being mindful in so many ways. one time i notice my mental absence is when i eat. if you’re like me, you spend a lot of mealtime at your computer(s) or in front of your tv. at the very least, there’s some reading material in hand. it’s a total disconnect from what i am feeling and doing. i’ve noticed i can often finish a meal and wonder: how did that food even taste? did i even notice when i started feeling full?

another example: i adore my music. the first thing i do in the morning at work? plug in my ipod and get my office rocking. i do a lot of walking and when i do, i always, always, always have my earbuds in. public transit, same. to be entirely honest, the vast majority of the time i spend in public is spent totally removed from the experience.

i do so many things without being mindful that i feel like i am almost constantly wondering if i turned off the stove, where i put my keys and if i responded to a particular email. being in my body and in my moment would allow me to do even these trivial things and to remember them.

all of these realizations add up to one conclusion: i spend the majority of my days completely out of touch with the people around me and almost everything i am doing. i am sacrificing the experience, the emotions and the awareness for distraction and to occupy my mind when i could be focusing on the be-ing instead.

many suggest that mindfulness mediation is a good way to get on track. i’m willing to give it a shot hoping for a richer

“mindfulness observation is one of the most effective ways of understanding that your spirit, which is the real you, is the ever present witnessing awareness of everything that happens in your body, in your mind and in your world.” ~ deepak chopra (borrowed from the mediation, below)


3 responses »

  1. I think one of the most important things, to me at least, is the fact that being mindful is not compatible (easily) with being super-busy or very multitasked. There is, frankly, far too much input at one time to fully process and experience all of it. No doubt, with training you’d get much more out of even the most chaotic of times, but it has to be an uphill struggle at best.

    So, in many ways, when I look at my life and go, “I don’t even REMEMBER that”, I am somewhat comforted by the fact that my mind is doing its best to cope with a world where everything is being thrown at it in hyperdrive and it has to make some quick decisions about what’s important, and what isn’t. If I forget my drive home, that’s fine — it’s a boring drive anyway. Not much lost. But if I forget what my son’s face looked like last night when I put him to bed, or what the sky looked like when I went out of the house this morning, then I am truly missing out on the important.

  2. I am very much the same when it comes to music. I run with my music, walk, take the bus, and pretty much any other activity when I am out of the house on my own. I am starting to really enjoy taking pictures so I think I am starting to spend a little more time paying attention to what is around me. Perhaps this is a good thing.

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