Drink your tea slowly, and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly without rushing towards the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life. Thich Nhat Hanh
Mindfulness is being aware of your life as it is happening without wishing it were different. You are fully present, engaged and aware of your immediate experience, all without judgment. Your energy is not scattered in the past or planning the future. You are in your body, and your Spirit is in the driver’s seat.
Developing the skill of paying nonjudgmental attention to our present moment experience helps us live our lives consciously. We experience life as it unfolds. We are not on auto-pilot; we are here, fully and completely.
Coming from this space of awareness, you can discern your thoughts from those of your neighbor. You can feel into your body and sense whether a feeling is truly aligned with your Spirit. You are present.
It’s not as easy as it sounds as you’ll see in the following exercise.
Exercise: Five Minutes of Mindfulness
Take five minutes to sit and breathe. Turn off the TV, turn off the phone, and turn away from your computer. Turn away from your outside life and go within. Set a timer for five minutes from now, and just sit and observe your thoughts. Can you do it?
1. Sit in a comfortable chair, with feet on the floor. Close your eyes and breathe. Bring all of your awareness to the center of your head. Imagine sitting as a Spirit in your internal sanctuary, that space between the ears and behind the eyes. Be there now.
2. Count your breaths: in, out, in, out. Breathe and be present. As thoughts enter your mind, which they will, allow them to float by. Breathe. Feel the rhythm of your body as it breathes. Feel your mind as it slows down. Tune into the rhythm of the in-breath and the out-breath. Feel your body: the sensations of breathing, the muscles in your body relaxing, the eyelids drooping. Feel. Be. Do nothing, be everything. That is all.
3. Remain totally present in this moment. If a thought of the future or the past comes up, just say, “Thanks—I’ll be with you in a moment,” and go back to breathing and counting your breaths.
4. Feel the tempo of your body and your thoughts. Be fully here, fully present in the moment.
5. Open your eyes and look around the room. See it as if for the first time. Experience the colors, the way the light shines on the table. This is your present moment.
6. Breathe. That is it: just breathe and observe. Feel. Be. Do not judge. Do not listen to the inner critic. Just keep breathing and looking around and feeling and being. As you move about your room, maintain this state of conscious awareness. When a judgment enters your mind, bring your awareness to the judgment and allow it to float away.
7. If you find yourself blipping out or falling into a past regret as you go about your day, remember this state of being mindfully aware. Bring your awareness back to this moment in time and consciously choose to reenter this state of mindful awareness.
Mindfulness is being present with your thoughts and feelings in the current moment. It is being aware of your body, your thoughts, your feelings, the sensations, the smells, the noises, yet not being distracted by them or judging them. Here, in the middle of your present moment, behind the noise and chatter of your thoughts, is the voice of your Spirit. Listen and allow the whispers of your soul’s desires to bubble forth. This is the doorway to your life on purpose.
This month we are journeying into the world of mindfulness. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, only this moment is life. Come, let’s learn together and practice together, this act of being mindfully aware of our present moments. Subscribe and receive each post as a direct email to you.