When did you last spent time doing nothing? By nothing I really mean nothing — no television, no social media, no whatsapping?
When was the last time you actually stopped and took a moment? Stopped to truly experience the soft pleasing wind or the fragrance emanating from a colorful flower or truly savoring the bite of an apple observing its sweetness, texture, essence and the nourishment?
A three-year-old mindlessly swallows his food while his eyes are glued to the addictive idiot box. An overburdened woman folds the laundry while keeping one eye on the kids and the other on the pressure cooker. Confused and shuddered, so many people are like a lost nomad living with so much stress, anxiety and uncertainty. Being busy has become a profession for so many of us. Demands from our personal and professional lives compete for our attention in multiple ways and we are mindlessly busy in completing tasks. Most of us don’t even know why we are doing the things that we are doing on a repeat mode on a daily basis.
There is such a beautiful saying — When you came to the world you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life such that when you die, you rejoice and the world cries.
How many of us are living life this way? Haven’t we lost the bigger picture in the day to day grind? Most of us are so caught up with our relationship issues, health challenges, our bills, expenses and all those things that we don’t have in our lives. Our perturbed and concerned mind is either busy rehashing the past or worrying too much of the future. Researches have concluded that 47% of the times our mind is swinging like a pendulum from past to future. No wonder we feel tired all the time. The question here is what do we do about it and how can we change this? In other words, how do we look after our diligent and multifaceted world wiser.
Mindfulness is nothing else but moment to moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, body sensations and surrounding environment, through a gentle nurturing lens. In other words, it is being in the isness of the moment and bringing our conscious mind to the present situation. Whatever is, simply is — being at ease with it keeps you away from the disease the world is suffering from. Mindfulness gives you the ability to intentionally pay attention to the present moment with lot of kindness. It helps you get in touch with your feelings and accepting your experiences just as they are. Once you can accept, only then you can change.
Now, how do we cultivate mindfulness? One of the easiest ways is to focus your attention on your breathe. Simply tuning into your natural breath for as little as 10 minutes a day has profound effect on your wellbeing. When I started practicing this method, for the first few days I experienced racing undulating thoughts and it was extremely difficult for me to concentrate on my breath even for a minute. My mentor had told me something which stays with me even today — “what you practice grows stronger.” So, I decided to mindfully practice more of what I want, rather than mindlessly become a prey to my old habitual ways of self-ridicule, over-thinking, self-doubting and looking for easy an way out.
The ultimate purpose of focus on the breath is to learn to bring your whole heart to the moment — giving attention to your behavior, your reaction, moods, thoughts, emotions, fears and desires as they occur in the present. If you can be present enough to watch all those things not critically or analytically but non judgmentally, you become more aware of yourself and get certain insights as to why your conditioning functions in those particular ways. Focused attention breeds clarity.
Another simple method to practice mindfulness is by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end, and giving it your fullest attention, so that it becomes an end itself. For example, every time you walk up and down your house pay close attention to every step and every movement. When you wash your hands pay attention to the sound and the feel of water, the movement of your hands the scent of the soap. Joy has its roots in the whole hearted appreciative attention. As you go about your day, bring your attention to seeing, touching and listening wholeheartedly, mindful of how you are touching and being touched by the world. Create moments of pause. Before you know it you will start reflecting on all that goes well for you daily. You will start sensing the smallest moments of generosity you receive from others like the door held open, the smile you received, the food that was cooked for you and the clothes that were ironed for you. You will start to give what you start receiving too. You will be more appreciative, generous, kind, joyful and see the beauty of life every day.
Living mindfully uplifts you physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually there by making life a pleasant pilgrimage rather than a futile existence. You are not your thoughts, not your senses and not your mind. You are a grand creation of the creator who has the ability to create the life you dream and desire. Mindfulness puts you in the driver’s seat giving you the absolute control of the journey as well as the destination of your life.