Mindfulness is paying attention to what you are doing and being aware of your thoughts and feelings right now.
When you practise mindfulness, everyday activities become more meaningful and enjoyable – even eating a chocolate is more pleasurable when you give it your full attention.
In his book, ‘Zen and the Art of Archery,’ Eugen Herrigel describes how an archer with mindfulness becomes one with the bow and hits the centre of the target with every arrow. If you ask how he did it, he can’t put it into words. The same also applies to sports such as tennis and golf. Worry about your game and you’ll make mistakes, but if you master the core skills and then allow mindfulness to take over, you enter a state known as ‘the zone’ which is how champions perform at their peak.
Mindfulness is powerful. When you concentrate any form of energy, including mental and emotional energy, you intensify it. Pay full attention to what you are doing in each moment. If your mind wanders, slow your breathing and bring it back. After a while it becomes so automatic you don’t even have to think about it.
Choose ONE activity to do today with total mindfulness. Slow down and take your time. If your mind wanders, simply bring it back. When you’re sitting, be aware of the chair beneath you and how it feels to be supported by it; when driving, listen to the sound of the engine as you accelerate, decelerate and change gear; when eating notice how your jaw moves, the feeling of biting into your food and the combination of flavours.
Pay attention to the sights, sounds and sensations (inner and outer) as you wash, shave, walk. listen to music, do the gardening, wash up, wait at traffic lights etc.
Then reflect on what you have learned from this exercise.
©David Lawrence Preston, 17.11.2016
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How to Books, 2007