I offer the previously mentioned resources (in the last blog post about Nowness) that you can begin to look into if you are curious about this whole mindfulness thing. The wonderful thing is that it doesn’t have to be taken too seriously, nor does it have to take up your entire day. It can be done in an hour, half an hour, ten minutes, 5 minutes, or even one minute. There is an app for that (as stated), for real! It really is up to you and what you can handle, but also what can rejuvenate you while bringing you back to the here and now. The reality is that there is so much going on in our lives nowadays that it can be hard to think about adding something else in there to our plates, to overwhelm us that much more. And while I get that way of thinking, it’s really about incorporating this into your life so you can be more fully present and focused on whatever is going in your life. Those deadlines you have to reach; the games you have to take the kids to; the meals you have to prepare days ahead of schedule. Imagine if there was a supercharge or superpower button you could access that could help you remember, energize you, and allow you to truly connect to each of these activities without just simply going through them in a blind, zombie-like fashion. Well, meditation is it.
And if the thought of meditation still remains uncomfortable or daunting, there’s yoga. There’s Dancing Mindfulness. There are ways to access this state that is different than simply sitting somewhere for a short or extended period of time. You can move around and become aware of your body’s way of moving that can contribute to this state of mindfulness. Honestly, the Buddhist monks and those within the mindful movement often focus on the importance of mindful walking, being consciously aware of each step you take, taking them slowly while noticing what it feels like to intentionally experience each step as a distinct step from the one before. Or if you don’t like that, there is mindful brushing of your teeth, mindful eating, and anything else ‘mindful’ you can think of. It’s not just stopping and doing nothing, but being aware of what you are doing while employing human and conscious thought rather than robotic thinking and doing – what we are otherwise doing to ourselves on a daily basis.
The other powerful thing about mindfulness is that it helps you to resolve what is in your past so you can be fully present, at least for that moment. What happened to you just before you started this practice, or even years ago when you were younger, what your parents said and did to you to make you the way you are today…those things don’t matter. As one of the trainers of a training I went to stated, those things don’t exist right now. They only exist in your head as a representation, as a blueprint, as an imprint of something that doesn’t presently exist. That voice of your mom, the image of the person who cut you off in traffic, the voice of that second grade teacher that said you would be a failure doesn’t actually exist in this moment. It is simply a thought. Thoughts can have power and control over us if we let them. But what if we regain that power to say to ourselves, “This thought; the only thing that exists right now is this thought, and the sensation that comes along with it. And then there’s another thought…”
We have tens of thousands of thoughts a day. We tend to pay attention to the ones that seem to be true or matter to us more. But who says those thoughts are true? Do we determine that they are? Why do we decide to listen to some thoughts and pay attention to those over any other thought? The squeaky wheel gets the oil, and the same is true for our thoughts. It’s not that the other ones are any less valid or true, it’s just that we become accustomed to listening to those that seem to protect us in a way that the other ones may not do. So we take heed. But what if I told you those thoughts are not only not true, but they are now (presently) doing you a disservice because they are keeping you from achieving all of the wonderful and amazing things you are supposed to or meant to accomplish! They have kept you from sharing, from being vulnerable, from opening up because they have “protected” you in the past. But that level of protection isn’t needed in this moment, and there is nothing more to do in this moment but to be present in this moment. It’s a beautiful cycle, and one that doesn’t have to be too difficult. We tend to overcomplicate things, over analyze, and over-rationalize things. Left-brain living, if you will. Meditation and mindfulness just recenter us without the need to engage our left brain as much. So do yourself a favor and give yourself the gift of presentness.