Often we do a task with the intention of getting it done, so that we can get to the next thing. Right?
Here are some examples:
- A simple example that I commonly share is doing the dishes so that we can sit down and have a cup of tea.
- Or another might be to get that phone call to your mother out of the way so you can sit down and relax in front of the TV (or computer).
- Or we gobble down some food at our desk in order to get on with the working day.
With just a slight shift in attitude, here’s what these experiences could be like:
- Stay present with doing the dishes, without rushing. Notice the soap suds, the way they glisten, feel the warm water, see the shiny dishes. Then use that same attitude of attention to make the cup and tea, and then drink it.
- Make the phone call and really listen to the other person. Engage with them. Can you pick up anything from their tone of voice? You might find that speaking with love and compassion naturally follows.
- Eat mindfully! Really notice the small, taste and texture of each mouthful. Don’t have any distracting electronic devices in front of you! You will be rewarded with rich sensations.
These examples are simple and a good place to start.
People sometimes tell me that they don’t have time to slow down to do the dishes, or that if they do try, they get frustrated or bored.
This becomes an opportunity to notice the way frustration arises when you are just living your life doing its simple practicalities. And it shows just how much we do live ‘in our heads’.
I read somewhere the advice:
‘Live the moments of your life as if you had chosen them.’
Try the attitude that NOW is the time I am going to do the dishes; I have chosen to spend this moment doing the dishes. Does that make a difference?
There are just so many more ways to practice being mindful.
I’m even amazed at the dexterity of my fingers as I type this.
You might want to try:
· Putting out the rubbish
· Driving (always a good idea to be mindful!)
· Yoga practice on the mat
· Listening to your children
· Playing with your children
· Having a shower
· Smoothing lotion on your body
· Cleaning your teeth
· Chopping vegetables
In fact for as much of your day as you can, stay present with the sensations of the moment.
Earlier today while I put petrol in the car there was the smell of the petrol and the feeling of the sun on my skin. Interesting how the mind can judge one of these as bad and the other as good. Yet they are just sensations to notice. They add richness to my life. (I’m not going to make a habit of smelling petrol by the way, it is just today’s example.)
What did you try? Did it make a difference? Please share in the comments below!
From simple practices we can develop greater awareness of more subtle inner sensations. I’ll talk about that in part 3 of this series. Look out for it soon.
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