So, last week we talked about how virtually every moment of your life can be viewed as an opportunity to practice mindfulness meditation; but once you learn how to recognize these opportunities, how do you successfully utilize them? If you’ve already been practicing mindfulness meditation, you probably already know what to do; but if you’re new to meditation, the answer might not seem so obvious.
Let’s take a look at some common, everyday activities, and how you could go about turning them into a quick session of mindfulness meditation.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, odds are you shave some part of your body at least every once in a while. Whether you’re shaving your face or your legs, you know it’s going to take some time – at least a few minutes. Instead of letting your mind wander during this task, focus closely on what you are doing.
Notice the feeling of the blade moving across the surface of your skin; pay close attention to the temperature of the water and the sensation of the shaving cream as you lather it across your skin; concentrate on every stroke of the razor; and count the number of strokes you make each time before you rinse the blade.
This is a fun one, because who doesn’t love to eat. For this example, let’s assume you are eating a sandwich. First, pay close attention to the way you bite into the sandwich: Do you curl your lips back? Do you lean forward, or tilt your head or body in any particular direction? Do you take a large bite or a small one? Is there a particular part of the sandwich where you choose to take your first bite? Do you rotate the sandwich as you eat it?
Next, pay attention to the way you chew each bite: Do you always chew on a particular side of your mouth? Do you chew quickly or slowly? How many times do you chew each bite before you swallow it? As you are chewing on your food, really taste it. Try to taste every ingredient in the sandwich individually, and notice the different textures of each ingredient and how they blend with the other textures.
Finally, as you swallow each bite, pay close attention to the sensation of the food sliding down the back of your throat.
Waiting is about as common as breathing. You might not even notice, but you probably wait for something every day. Whether you are waiting in line, waiting in traffic, or waiting to catch an elevator, you are waiting, and you really have nothing else to do, so you might as well meditate. The next time you are waiting for something, put your cell phone away, stop talking to yourself in your mind – intrapersonal communication – and just notice what is happening…
Listen closely to the sounds that are happening around you; scan your surroundings and look, really look at the things that are around you; notice the way you feel physically and emotional… Do your feet hurt? Are your legs tired from standing? Are you slouching? Do you feel happy or sad?
These were only a few small examples, but I hope you can see now just how easy it is to take a perfectly ordinary moment, and turn it into a productive session of mindfulness meditation.
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