Here is the fifth of my 50 Mindful Practices from my upcoming book. Please sign up for my weekly emails if you want to get the rest automatically in your email box. I welcome your feedback and please pass along to your friends!
MINDFULNESS MADE EASY – 50 PRACTICES TO REDUCE STRESS AND CREATE CALM – FOR HOME, SCHOOL AND WORK
Practice 5: Be Totally Present
“[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][People] measure their esteem of each other by what each has, and not by what each is. … Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
What it is. You may have heard of the concept of “living in the now” or being present. This means trying to live right here, right now without looking ahead or looking back. It means being totally alert and awake to all that is going on, both inside us and around us. Sadly, we rarely live in the present. We rarely stop to smell the roses. We all tend to worry too much about what may happen in the future or stress about what has happened in the past.
The skill of being fully alert and centered, is best seen in those who practice martial arts. They are trained to be so calm on the inside that they can respond appropriately to any attack. Like a well rooted tree, they are completely here in the present moment and as a result can weather even violent storms.
How to do it. Next time you do a simple chore like sweeping the floor or washing dishes take the opportunity to do the task mindfully. Instead of thinking or other things or daydreaming, focus fully on what you are doing with complete curiosity and calm. Feel the handle of the broom in your hands. Watch the shape of the bristles as they press against the floor. Notice the dirt flecks as they move onto the dust pan. If washing dishes, feel the temperature of the dish water. Smell the soap suds. Become fully absorbed in the moment and sense how free it feels to be fully engaged in the present. Another easy way to be more in the present is to mix up your habits. For example, walk to work a different way or eat a different breakfast or sit in a place that’s new for you.
What to notice. When we focus on the present moment it is as if all our senses come alive. We see things we have never noticed before. All the mental energy that might have been spread over many things, is now focussed on just one thing: Being here now. It feels similar to moving from multi-tasking to working on only one project. Your levels of concentration and observation increase significantly. All the other distractions fall away. As you go about your day try to notice how often you are truly in the present moment.
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