The expression “There’s more to it than meets the eye” can remind us to be more mindful of our simple, every day, inner and outer surroundings and activities. How can we live mindfully in our fast-paced, multi-tasking world?
Recall a recent special moment when you delighted in the sight of a flower or the face of a loved one; relaxed to a gentle touch or a piece of music; relished a hot, hot shower or a fresh and delicious snack. Chances are that at the first moment of seeing, relaxing or relishing, you were not thinking, planning, recalling or worrying.
Whether we are elderly with lots of leisure, or engaged in an active career, it is easy to allow doing, thinking, anticipating and regretting to dominate all our waking hours, minutes and moments. However, with some simple practice, we can make a habit of living in the now, seeing for the first time what often has been right in front of our eyes, and living a more deeply enriched life without acquiring anything more or going anywhere different.
Many people are exploring mindful meditation or other simple practices to free themselves from the constant inner and outer demands of their attention, and to relieve stress and anxiety. To get in the habit of focusing on what is happening in the present moment, you can first smile, then consciously stop thinking, and then take a few slow breaths when you stop at a red light, hear the hourly chimes of a clock, pass through doorways, or tuck yourself in or get ready to emerge from your bed.
Three people might each fill a weekly dispenser of medications and/or vitamins and supplements. One focuses on getting it done as quickly as possible. Another worries about getting the right numbers of each kind of tablet in the right compartments. The third mindfully places the tablets as daily gifts for her or his health and well being.
AjijicSMA2&3.13 099
After a recent run on a sunny morning, we did our customary stretches. Paying attention to our stretching bodies, the warming sun and the big blue sky, we spontaneously pictured the famous image from space of our earth globe swirled in blue, green and white. At that moment we glanced to the ground and discovered a single, small stone that mirrored that image. We were so glad to have let go of any preoccupations, to be present to that moment with its rich physical and spiritual gifts.
A good reading experience is “Wherever You Go, There You Are Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life” by John Kabat-Zinn (Hyperion, 1994, $14.95).