Let’s practice Mindfulness
Try to remember your actions and thoughts in last one week, difficult? Ok, try to do it for last 24 hours. You will remember few things if you try hard but you will can’t recall most of the thoughts at all. The practice of Mindfulness begins with understanding and acknowledging the fact that our common experience is extremely absent minded-that we are actually sleepwalking through our daily lives, we are never present their at that moment and we always miss the live action, important things and simple joys of life happening right in front of our eyes.
We drive absent mindedly as we are used to the same route to workplace, we join meetings but our mind is somewhere else, at home, we eat the food that was prepared with love by your spouse but your mind is in office or some other place. The list is endless.
You can try simple things to change your habit of being absent minded. In the morning, try to feel the weight of your newspaper in your hand, feel the temperature on your skin, are you feeling cold or hot, try to feel your feet in contact with the floor and grass, can you feel blood circulation or your breath in your body? Notice nature around you, can you hear birds? How many? Let’s taste our food, feel the taste with or without lemon juice.
Yes it’s that simple. Feel that moment, right there.
To start with, we need to accept that we have been living our life on “Auto pilot mode”. We have been sleep walking absent mindedly. During autopilot mode, we might eat our dinner at home and finish the meal without relishing the taste at all. We might reach office in the morning but forgot to so something not important but quite urgent on the way. We simply forgot to admire the blooming of a new flower on our pot or garden in front of our house.
This habit of leading life in autopilot mode can be quite sad and harmful for us specially when we get stuck in negative stream of thoughts. We don’t even realize and we are leading ourselves into chronic stressed or depressed thoughts. A minor incident of someone trying to cross the line at the grocery store will just nudge you towards a thought about feeling insignificant and no one respects you and the flood gates of negative thoughts will open up and keep flowing during the day. Here, if we had known that we are on “autopilot mode”, we would have decided to change the thought process and stopped to admire two birds playing or kids jumping with joy for no reason. Suddenly our train of thought would have been different.
We regularly hold Mindfulness sessions and workshops at Cottage Nirvana regularly, and I try to keep it very simple. This is part of series of Yoga retreats and meditation retreats that we hold for individuals and groups. Let’s taste mindfulness, literally speaking we start the exercise by making people taste the food. Start by holding an apple in your hand, play along, and imagine that you have never seen or eaten any apple in your life. Admire it, pay attention, and notice the color, the texture, the shape and folds. Absorb the smell of the apple, notice your thoughts while doing this, if your thoughts are wandering and accept it.
Now slowly taste the apple, feel the reaction in your mouth, are you salivating? Pay attention to the sensations in your mouth, chew it slowly, feel it with your tongue. Continue to chew and enjoy the process. Now swallow and feel it moving towards your tummy. Why have you eaten the apple, will it do any good for your body? Will it give you nourishment?
After this simple exercise, we get to see interesting responses from people. They felt it tasted completely different to how they remembered in the past, it was rich in flavor. For some people, they felt irritated and wanted to finish the apple fast. Someone will mention that they could notice the texture and colour while chewing it. It reminded someone of the apple pie made by his mother.
Playing Mindfulness can be a very simple and exciting practice for you as you are trying to break and change your habits. We want to be present with your body and mind during any simple process, eating a fruit or driving or admiring a bird. We get to practice to leave our random thoughts on their own and move on in life without affecting us. Mindfulness can be a skill for you for your life which will help you in coping better with difficult situations that arise in your professional life, relationships anywhere.