It’s interesting to know how much potentially useful information we purposely and consciously ignore nearly every minute of our waking lives.
By that, I’m not referring to the millions of bits of information our sensory systems process and how little our brain actually gets around to interpreting. Here, I speak of the teeny tiny bits from inside and outside our bodies.
The sounds that are ever present around us, the curtains that mildly wave about indicating a draft coming in from slightly open windows, the gentle creaking of our joints as we try and rotate them slowly, the bloating from some grain foods, the lack of desire to finish a portion of food and yet finishing it because of habit… We have a wealth of information available to us about our internal and external environments, if only we’d listen.
A great way to begin the process of living in the moment and being mindful of all that’s going on in and around us at that particular point in time, is just making the time to meditate, beginning once a day.
The easiest sort of mindfulness meditation is awareness of breath. Following the path of each breath as it enters our nostrils, the contraction and flattening of the diaphragm, expansion of the stomach, air then making its way into the lungs, which inflate to their maximum capacity, then the expansion of the diaphragm and air finally leaving through the nostrils. We also note the beginning of every inhalation and the beginning of every exhalation, noticing the difference in temperature when the air entered our nostrils and when it exited them.
Just this simple exercise results in a profound silence that amplifies everything else that’s happening in our bodies – the gurgling in our tummies and intestines, the accumulation of saliva in our mouths, a gentle bead of perspiration across our brows and the ability to be conscious of the position and layout of our limbs without actually looking at them, among other bits and pieces of information.
We may also see, hear or perceive thoughts, sometimes about the past, mostly about the immediate future, which is usually the mind acting as a scheduler, reminding us about things that need to get done.
We may also perceive answers to questions that may be present in our minds; intuitive answers from the treasure trove of information in our subconscious minds, without the influence of the veils of emotion and conditioning that usually drape our conscious minds. These answers usually constitute good advice.
It may be challenging to set aside the priority to do so each day, and I’ve ignored the question of time on purpose, as ten minutes a day isn’t a question of managing time as much as it is about managing priorities. A fairly surefire method of success here, is doing it each day for a week and building a habit around the practice.
Later, I suggest adopting more, varied forms of daily mindful meditation, such as body scanning or even a full body Reiki if you’re so inclined. The latter does take 72 minutes, but it’s worth every second.
Alongside meditation, remaining mindful when walking, talking and just about any other activity becomes second nature and the sheer number of observations we’ll then begin becoming aware of, is startling and soon afterwards, a load of fun to work with.
Where do people look while they’re talking, are their pupils dilated, how does a houseplant look like in the morning as compared to the evening, is there a pattern to elevator sounds at different times of the day.. these and more unasked questions will receive answers.
Mindful meditation and mindful living, both combined will make us into powerhouses of observation and vast archives of experience, ripe for the picking to help us move forward with our lives, best foot forward, in peace and with calm.
… and that’s my two bits on the adoption of mindfulness in our regular lives.