Putting Mindfulness into Practice
Even though mindfulness is an ancient practice associated with Buddhism it is still very relevant today. The concept of mindfulness is simple; it means to pay attention in a certain way. This effectively has you purposefully paying attention to what is around you, living in the present moment and looking at things in a non-judgemental way. By bringing mindfulness into your life you will increase your clarity, acceptance and awareness of reality in the present moment.
Switching Off Auto Pilot
Auto pilot is that state where we do something automatically without even thinking about it. For example, when you are in a car you can drive for miles on auto pilot without even thinking what you are doing as you do it so often. When we are in auto pilot mode we aren’t really present in the moment, and this how we spend large chunks of our lives without even realising it.
In short, when we are on auto pilot our buttons are being pressed for us rather than us pressing them ourselves. Thoughts, what is occurring around us, sensations and feelings trigger old habits of thinking which let us slip into this mode of thought. By living in the moment and becoming aware of our feelings, thoughts and sensations, we are giving ourselves a chance at experiencing greater choice and freedom simply due to us switching off auto pilot and preventing ourselves falling into that old routine.
How many of you carry out a mundane task, washing the dishes for example, while thinking of anything but the job you are doing? This is the simplest way of implementing mindfulness into your daily life; by using it during those little things you do on a daily basis. Notice the water’s temperature, how the bubbles feel against your skin, listen to see if you can hear them popping.
There is a sound when you take dishes in and out of the water you have probably never noticed before, run your fingers over the dishes when they have been cleaned and feel how smooth they are. In short, take notice of the things you normally don’t and you may even realise there are things, such as the noise of the bubbles popping, that you didn’t know existed.
Carry this ethos into other activities, such as taking the dog for a walk. Rather than being trapped inside our own heads and going through the motions of putting one foot in front of the other, have a look around you. Concentrate on the feeling running through your body as you walk along, feel the muscles and sinews working. Listen to the sound you are making by breathing, or the sound your feet are making when they hit the ground.
Practice Makes Almost Perfect
By doing this regularly you will soon find that you are becoming altogether more aware of what is actually going on around you rather than just what’s inside your head. You will realise that you have a whole new appreciation for the world around you, and the role you play in it. If you find yourself drifting off into that other world then you will have the mental strength to push it away and returning to being mindful, and you won’t believe how much better you feel for having that ability.