Image Courtesy : massiccio2007 on Flickr
Image Courtesy : massiccio2007 on Flickr

Mindfulness is every moment. Every step, every breath, every conversation, every handshake, every bite of a meal, every note in a song.

Read more about Mindfulness here.

Mindfulness is an everyday practice. It is not a destination to be reached. It is an end with its own.

Here’s an analogy. Lego sets have tiny light weight bricks. Each time we build something out of a Lego, we pay attention to how we place every brick. The same here with Mindfulness. It is all about paying attention to every moment within and “with-out” while building a greater reality.

While practicing mindfulness through these tools, be aware of  emotions, surroundings, feelings, sensations and new insights.

As research suggests, to make anything a habit it needs practice.

Here are different mindful practices, you should start practicing today:

  1. Mindful/Zen Walking: We walk all the time. From the bedroom to the living room. From work place to the parking lot. But maybe we just do not notice that we walked. At Pause for Perspective every last Sunday of the month we lead a Zen Walk with our community. Do join us. For now, the next time you walk…. Try this. In every step notice:
    • the movement of muscles in your body
    • how your feet feel
    • the sensations in the toes, the ankles, the calves, the shoulders, the neck
    • how the palms of your hands feel
    • how you are breathing
    • And when you drift away into thoughts, observe them and bring your attention back to walking.
  2. Contemplative Writing:Writing is a powerful tool of Mindfulness.Ever had that moment, when you bought a beautiful writing journal but never wrote in it because you thought you were never good enough?It’s time that the journal saw light. Silence that voice which is loud enough to stop you from writing. Write for yourself.Record the feelings, thoughts, sensations and new insights. Don’t think, don’t judge. Go with the flow.Do not try to correct the mistakes…Spelling errors, grammar mistakes, punctuation. When you don’t know what to write….write that too… “I don’t know what to write.” Keep the pen moving.This practice is called free writing. Free writing clears the mind and opens new windows of creativity. It allows you to be present to what is. Read a dear friends reflection on contemplative writing.
  3. Mindful eating: Often we binge eat. Driven by emotions and feelings. Cultivate a practice to eat mindfully. Try these few simple steps to enjoy food:
    • Observe the utensils and the containers that hold food. The curves and the designs of the utensils.
    • Activate your five senses. Observe what you eat. Smell the food. Listen to what your food is saying to you. Touch you food to notice the texture. And now…. Eat.
    • Bite and chew slowly. Experience the taste.  
  4. Creative Journaling: Who is not fascinated by colour?  All those hues of pinks. Greens, blues, yellows…..None of us have to be an artist to mindfully enjoy the simple pleasures of smearing paint on paper. Creative Journaling is a practice of using various art supplies such as paints, pencils, pastels, textures to uncover emotions, feelings and sensations. Throw some light on your personal story and reflect upon where you are in your life. 
  5. Silence: Silence allows us to observe. Be aware. Though silence is under appreciated in the world we live in, it is one of the practices which allows us to be with ourselves. Allows us to connect with the surroundings, steering us to awareness.
  6. Light a lamp/Candle: Bring yourself to the moment through this ever so simple mindfulness tool. Light a lamp or a candle and watch the flame flicker.
  7. Meditation: Mindfulness is a primary tool to meditate. Meditation can be an easy practice, once you a hang of it.Choose a calm place. Remove all the distractions such as gadgets. Take a deep breath. Breathe out from your mouth. Focus on areas of your body with tension. Release the stress. Observe your shoulders raise and fall rhythmically to your breath. Though out this process, Mind often wanders off. Thoughts sweep us away into the past or into the future. When you observe that the mind has wandered off, gently bring it back. Don’t be hard on yourself. There are various techniques of meditation. However, guided meditation can be a great to start off with. Click here for guided meditation clips.
  8. Use technology to be mindful:All hail Smart phones. Sometimes they are trouble, but it’s time to use them for the right cause. Yes… You guessed it right. Use it to be mindful.Download a mindfulness bell app. Every time the bell rings remember to take a deep breathe and let it out.
  9. Make reminder cards:Place cards in appropriate places at your work place or home to gently remind you to be mindful. Cards that say Breathe, Slowdown, Now, live or any word that reminds you to come back to the moment.

Mindfulness can be applied to anything that you do. It is not restricted to the mindfulness practices listed above. Read more about  mindful practices in the link below.

Contemplative Practices