When most people speak of their mindful practice they talk about their meditations or yoga class. But mindfulness is not just about meditating for 20 minutes a day then going on with your busy life. Being mindful involves the practice of being present with each moment, this moment, the one right in front of you, the one you will never get back.
We are given a finite number of moments in a lifetime and with mindful focus we can give each moment the glory and wonder that it deserves. Of course, meditation is very important because it has an effect on the quality of our emotions, the state of a mind, and the time we spend in meditation can bring balance and focus to the mind, body and spirit so that we can move forward in our day in a more thoughtful, focused way.
With mindfulness we bring meaning to our so-called “ordinary” activities; driving, eating, cleaning house, working, spending time with friends and family. The practice of mindfulness brings a new meaning to these activities, a focus on every interaction, an awareness that eliminates the feelings of wasted moments. It is a powerful practice that will enrich not just your life but everyone you come in contact with.
Mindful practice is not a different name for meditation, it is an extension of our meditative practices in to our daily lives. When I ask someone how their mindful practice is going I hear time and again “It’s going great, I have been meditating everyday for 30 minutes.” This misses the point entirely, that is an answer to the question “how is your meditation going?” Mindful practice is a part of everything we do, and yes, it takes practice to cultivate a life of mindfulness, it takes discipline to be present in every moment, it’s hard work to find the constant connection to others that is part of the practice of mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness is like taking your mind to the gym and giving it a workout.
The practice of mindfulness takes place when we wash the car, do the dishes, eat our lunch, talk with our partner…every moment of everyday is a practice in mindfulness. Each moment is a challenge to find how present we are in the moment..this moment..this one right here!!!
No matter the task we can always be more mindful. No matter what we are doing we can find the compassion for others, the kindness of life, find the connection to the Universe in every little thing we do. It can be shown in the way we eat our food, the way we talk to a stranger, the way we look at the sunset.
In mindfulness we feel connected to all life. We have an awareness that all life has hopes and dreams, doubts and fears, anger and grief, joy and love. The stories of our lives are unique but the range of emotions and experiences we feel are shared with all humanity. With this knowledge we can deal with life in a more compassionate way, feeling a part of something bigger.
Living a mindful life softens the edges of the stresses in life, helps us reduce pain and depression and allows us to recognize that life is full of richness and wonder. With this practice we treat others with dignity and respect and find value in every moment of every day!
Living a life in mindfulness brings your life in to focus, and is the path to enlightenment.