Mastering the path of Mindfulness

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Sue was at her wits end. She had to run errands, but could not find the car keys. She had the key in her hands just a few minutes ago before she went to answer the doorbell . Why was Sue in this predicament? A few typical answers are – her mind was preoccupied with stress, or she was multitasking. This seems familiar, as we all suffer from this temporary loss of memory! Earlier this was related to old age, but not anymore. Younger people are known to be more absent minded nowadays.

Mindfulness is associated with maintaining awareness at all times. As soon as we wake up, all our actions are done in a habitual fashion, in a repetitive manner.  Thus the entire process is unconscious. While performing these mundane daily actions like brushing our teeth, getting ready our “mind” is thinking about other things e.g. the past or future activities. No wonder a simple act of leaving the keys at a particular spot is done inattentively, causing temporary amnesia.

This means when we wake up in the morning our actions are “unconscious”; since mind is not occupied with our present action.  Our endeavor should be to build awareness for the tiniest of actions we perform and be totally immersed in it. This enables us to be aware from “moment to moment”.

Tips to build “Awareness” within ourselves

  1. We need to practice building “awareness” in small doses. Everyday practice with a few actions.
  2. The smallest of act needs complete attention in the present moment. It can be simple banal activities like stepping out of the bed, wearing clothes, eating, walking etc. Constantly question yourself. “What am I doing right now?”. You were wearing clothes but thinking about a past fight with a colleague. This system of questioning will sway your “Mind” back to the “Present” task. The more you practice , the longer you force your mind to come back to the present moment; resulting in maintaining your awareness
  3. Keep reminder notes or pop ups, to be “mindful”. Don’t allow your mind to wander away. One can keep memos at their work place, stickies on the mirrors etc eliminating all chances to get lost in your thoughts.
  4. Use tools to strengthen your mind. Make a resolve to do certain tasks which will make you more disciplined. Take any emotional trigger in your personality which causes an agitation within you. Do not take the bait of this trigger, by reminding yourself that you have to stay calm for seven days. All these exercises, help you to gain more control over your mind. Certain people practice fasting, as it teaches them not to be a slave to their temptations; thus, learning to master the mind.
  5. Learn to be totally involved in the action. A mechanical act of eating can be done with total Awareness. With complete attention we perform the act of picking up the food, putting it in our mouth; each time we chew, we need to feel it.
  6. Any thoughts or feelings arising in your mind should not be judged. Thus, you don’t get entangled in a mental chatter while performing the present action. Meditation and breathing techniques are used for controlling emotional fluctuations.
  7. Keep in mind that these tiny efforts will metamorphose slowly into a considerable shift in your overall “Awareness”.

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it”

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