I hear so many people say that they don’t have time to sit down and meditate, go to a class or even just do nothing for 5 minutes.
Believing that mindfulness or meditation practice needs to be formal and structured is a trap.
It’s too easy to say “I don’t have time,” I don’t feel like it” or “I’ll do it tomorrow” and then keep putting your practice off.
But what if you got to do your mindfulness practice every day without even trying?
That’s what I’m encouraging you to do, to break your beliefs about what mindfulness should be, and create your own beliefs.
Here’s my definition of mindfulness:
Paying conscious attention to your direct experience (internal and external)
without judgement or struggle.
That doesn’t sound too hard does it? Just paying attention to your life as it happens?
Here are some ideas to get you thinking about activities that you probably already do, which you can do mindfully from now on:
Stretch, chop veggies, have a shower, listen to the sounds around you, observe people, brush your teeth, feel the breeze or sun on your skin, type on a keyboard, walk, watch animals and insects in nature, write, draw, get dressed, drive a car, eat lunch, open your front door, cook dinner, get into bed.
Surely you do a couple of these things everyday (or could fit them in if you really wanted to.) The point is, you don’t need to sit down, switch off your phone and be completely undisturbed in order to integrate mindfulness practice into your life. In fact, if you are truly just paying attention to the present then it shouldn’t matter whether or not your phone makes a noise or your kids are with you.
Just choose 2 or 3 activities that you do (or can do) regularly that you will commit to doing with presence and awareness. That’s it!
In case you’re wondering how to do something “mindfully” without forcefully trying to evict all distracting thoughts from your mind, here’s the steps I recommend:
1. Let your thoughts be
Mindfulness is not the absence of thoughts. It is peaceful observation of the mind without the need to engage in the barrage of thoughts that roll in and roll out. Instead of buying into each thought that arises, simply let it be there, don’t fight it, just notice it, and then let it drift away in it’s own time.
2. Engage your senses
Observe everything that you can about the present moment and what it’s truly like to engage in your chosen mindful activity. Notice the position on your body and the sensations that you feel in your skin, your muscles and watch your body as it moves. Listen to the sounds that are generated by this activity and the sounds that are playing out in the background. Take note of what you can see, paying attention to the colours, patterns and contrast between light and dark.
3. Sit back and observe
Sit back from your thoughts about the past or future. Sit back from worries, daydreams and to-do list items. If your mind tries to distract you then just disentangle yourself from your thoughts and allow them to float past you. Just observe and notice. Let all of your senses come alive and collectively enjoy each moment that you carry out your chosen activity.
What activity will you choose to do mindfully from now on?
Naomi Goodlet is a Mindfulness Crusader, Spiritual Rebel and Happiness Hacker.
She advocates for empowerment, wellbeing and freedom through connection with true values and with the present moment. To connect with Naomi visit her website.