May 25, 2009
Mindfulness, the state of being present and being conscious of your inner-self, is an amazing concept. Mindfulness is practiced to meditate, to fight with pain, to be focused and to be happy and content in general.
“Kiss your life. Accept it, just as it is. Today. Now. So that those moments of happiness you’re waiting for don’t pass you by.”
Following are some tips that would help in practicing mindfulness and being aware of your consciousness. They can be practiced no matter how little time you have or wherever you are:
1. Stay in the “Observing Mind”:
Don’t let your mind be critical or emotional. In other words, try to get away from the analytical state of mind that tries to seek answers for questions. Just try to see whats happening in you and around you without trying to go into a lot of depth.
I’ll try to explain this one with a short example. Recently, my wife and I went to a Barnes and Noble book store, one that we had never been to before. As soon as we entered, she said “How come this one is so different in size?”. I had felt that too and I said “Yeah! Its kind of small”. She turned around and looked really surprised, “Small! I haven’t seen any other store with two floors!”. I looked up and there it was. A second floor that I had totally missed.
What happened was that I walked in with my usual attention to detail and started analyzing things. On the other hand, she always takes a few moments to sink things in and therefore has a far better observation than me.
2. Stay in the moment:
We have a lot of focus and concentration when we are driving on a freeway or writing an exam, but when it comes to simple tasks like walking, eating or just sitting on a bus, we let our mind wander. This is when we are trying to jump moments by going into past or the future and abandon the present.
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
It is very important to understand that staying in the present moment and being aware of what you are doing significantly improves concentration and makes even simplest of tasks more enjoyable. For example, if you let your mind wander when you eat, you might not even notice the taste of your food, let alone enjoy it.
3. Use All 5 Senses:
Another tip that works exceptionally well for me is trying to engage all 5 of my senses. That is, try to be conscious of what you are doing with your senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and speaking. It will force you to stay in the present moment and won’t give your mind a chance to wander around.
For example, if you are going for a walk, you can make it mindful by observing the sound of the wind, the hardness of the ground under you, the color of the skies and any other thing that exists in your surroundings.
4. Everything is Interesting:
Don’t get irritated by petty interruptions, rather, think of them as interesting. Try to observe what is happening and how your mind is reacting to these interruptions. This really helps in capturing the present moment and prevents you from being frustrated and discontent.
A small trouble is like a pebble. Hold it too close to your eye and it fills the whole world and puts everything out of focus. Hold it at a proper distance and it can be examined and properly classified. Throw it at your feet and it can be seen in its true setting, just one more tiny bump on the pathway to life.
I agree that sometimes its hard to remember these things, so initially we have to make a real conscious effort to practice them; but if we can turn them into a habit, the benefits are unimaginable.