Here’s a cheeky re-blog today from my other site, Skills with Frills. I’m completely in love with mindfulness right now, and finding more and more ways each day to create meditation-like zen out of completely ordinary, everyday activities that are perfectly in tune with a busy, modern life.
Follow the steps below and you’ll find that any moment or action, no matter how mundane and ordinary, can become a place of peace, contentment and beauty:
- Set an intention (decide what you’ll bring your attention to). For example, this could be your breath, surrounding, sensations in your body, thoughts, an unpleasant feeling in your belly etc. It’s like turning on a torch in the darkness and choosing a direction to point it in.
- Notice everything you can about the thing you’re looking at/listening to/watching in your mind with ‘the beginners’ mind.’
- Congratulate yourself if you notice that you’re becoming distracted and ‘drifting off.’ This is the bit that makes your brain grow stronger!
- Acknowledge this without judgement and let it go.
- Return to your intention, exploring it with a curious mind.
It’s important to note that thinking things like, “I’m bored,” “I hope this is over soon,” “Oh wow I’m being really mindful!” and “Oh I’ve never noticed that!” are completely normal. Remember that brain muscles grow stronger by noticing when you’ve ‘drifted off’ and by repeatedly pulling attention back to your intention. This is why we congratulate ourselves rather than becoming frustrated.
When you’ve finished, ask yourself: Did my mind wander? Did I notice thoughts going through my head? What were they? Do the same thoughts keep coming back? Do these thoughts create any feelings in my body? Did I manage to pull back my attention?
If you keep up a consistent practice, you can start really unpicking those repeated thoughts, and working out where there may be actual useful information that you need to act on; and where there’s thoughts that just aren’t true, or useful, and therefore can be ignored.