We're really good at making excuses aren't we?
I can't quiet the conversation in my head and I can't stop the restlessness in my body. I can't sit still and I don't have time. It's been proven that when one takes time for meditation a portal of time opens up. Suddenly, in the middle of your day you will find yourself so productive and so focused there will be more and more time to do the things you love in addition to creating a deep meditation practice. So where do you start if you can't quiet your inner dialogue? Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.
5 tips to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine:
1. Notice, don’t think.
Pretend you are a traveler or student encountering this activity for the very first time. Don’t judge, label, and think about what you’re doing. Just notice. Notice every detail with an open, beginner’s mind.
2. When in doubt, check your breathing.
If you feel your thoughts wandering from the present task, take a minute to hear and feel yourself breathe. Just paying attention to a few breaths will bring you back to the present moment.
3. You have 5 senses, use them.
Mindfulness means truly experiencing what is going on right now. This is more than just noticing what something looks like. What does it smell like? Feel it with your hands. What is the texture? Temperature? What do you hear?
4. Have a strategy to handle nagging thoughts.
Occasionally we all have thoughts that won’t go away—so you need a strategy for how to handle them. I like to have a notebook with me at all times to write any nagging to-dos, ideas or issues. If you write them down, your mind can relax because it knows you can go back to them later.
5. It is what it is.
You don’t need to analyze your mindfulness experience. Don’t worry about what it all means or if you’re being mindful enough. Just try to be mindful every day. Come more fully into the present moment. Let the experience be what it is.
While this might not fit the ideal of a perfect, solitary meditation practice, it works for me. It works because it gets me to the right place—the present moment.