“I forgot to prepare what I’m going to wear tomorrow….red or blue tie?...I wasn’t able to tell my wife we ran out of milk….my business presentation might not work with the new office projector, I think I need to test it first thing in the morning….oh yeah the neighbors invited us to the Church event this Saturday, should I attend? Hmmm….I think the dog needs to be brought to the vet on Saturday…perhaps I’ll do that after the event….but what if I don’t make it before the vet clinic closes?”
I used to lie down in bed at night for almost an hour with all these things running through my head. I used to worry a lot and obsessed on the smallest things, and it led me nowhere. I was often tired, stressed out and I almost broke down when everything started to swirl out of control…out of MY control.
Then someone told me about mindfulness – a practice of letting go of past memories and future worries, and of nonjudgmentally being aware of what is unfolding at this very moment. Mindfulness teaches one to focus in the here and now, and leave out everything else beyond what you are currently experiencing.
How can mindfulness help us in everyday life? Is this something you can benefit from? How can one practice mindful meditation?
Before learning about mindfulness, I used to have a lot of tasks that I set out to achieve at all cost. For me, the faster I get to my end goal, the better. It may be great for work – I was always first and fastest to submit my report and my boss appreciated my work ethic.
But then I applied the same attitude towards the rest of my life – I rushed my meals so I could get back to whatever I was doing…I would bring my wife to her workplace every morning as fast as I could so I could get on with my day. I even try to multitask as often as I can because for me, the more things I accomplish at the shortest amount of time possible, the better. But then I figured – better for who? What was the end goal of everything?
Stop and smell the flowers
When you always think of the end goal and not appreciate the journey, you fail to see the beauty of life unfolding in front of you. The adage, “stop and smell the flowers” is exactly what mindfulness is all about.
My breakfast this morning was beef salpicao cooked by our helper and it was so soft and juicy. It was so delicious! I asked her to pack some more for my lunch today because I had to be at work at 9am, so she did. I continued to enjoy my food during my lunch break.
Mindfulness is about allowing ourselves to see each moment with clarity. Doing this can change the way we see ourselves and our lives. It makes you see with fresh eyes the things you usually take for granted. It makes you stop and start counting your blessings.
How can you start being mindful?
If you’re a workaholic, it won’t be easy at first. You’re a control freak and you want things to go your way. Part of being mindful is accepting the fact that there are many things in your life you cannot control, so why worry about the outcome that is yet to come?
First step to mindfulness is to notice your thoughts, surroundings and feelings. Start noticing the air that you breathe, the taste of the coffee, and the feel of wearing a warm coat in an air-conditioned room.
Now that you’ve become keener on the regular things in your day, start trying out new things – like ordering tea instead of coffee this morning or talking to one of the maintenance guys downstairs.
There are more techniques you can practice in order to help you become more mindful and this is thru mindfulness mediation.
Start by setting a time and place each day when you can sit silently for a few minutes. You can do this early in the morning when you wake up (while everyone else at home is still asleep) or at night in your garden before going to bed.
During meditation, pay attention to your thoughts, your breath, and the sounds surrounding you. Try not to think of anything else but the current state that you are in. You are a leaf floating on water, nothing more.
Now breathe in…then slowly breathe out….repeat the exercises for several minutes until you’re totally relaxed. Remember to focus your attention to your breath and nothing else. If your mind wanders, try to return to your exercises once again.
Stress and worry do nothing to our body but cause pain and illness. Living in the now, focusing on what you are feeling and doing at this very moment, appreciating all the God-given blessings you are experiencing today – all this can help you lead a more meaningful life.