Mindfulness seems to be a hard task for beginners. Our minds are continuously jumping around from thought to thought, from the past to the future. It seems unnatural and uncomfortable in modern society to live in the moment. It isn’t mainstream(yet!). It’s always more comfortable for us to follow the crowd then to stand out and go against the grain. That’s why one man, Thich Nhat Hanh, created an idea called “A day of Mindfulness”.
Preparing for a Day of Mindfulness
A day of Mindfulness is simply, one day out of the week that you allot to being completely mindful. Be conscious of each task that you perform and living in the present moment as often as possible. First, to set up for a day of mindfulness, purposefully set something in your house that will remind you to be in the present moment. This could be a piece of paper with the word “mindfulness” on it, taped somewhere throughout your house. It could also be something from nature, such as a leaf, twig, etc. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it reminds you to live in the present moment.
How to be mindful throughout your day
On your day of mindfulness you will practice being in the moment from your first waking second to your last. Lying in your bed, before you have sprung up to start your day, start following your breath. Be conscious of the slow, long rythmic sensations of the breath. Then, slowly rise from your bed in complete mindfulness. Feeling all the sensations in your body after a good night’s sleep. Nourishing every motion in a state of mindfulness.
Once out of bed, start your daily tasks in a calm and relaxing way. Notice the bristle of your toothbrush cleaning your teeth. Feel the warm drops of aqua, ricocheting off your skin as you stand in the shower. Let the happiness of awareness lift your mood. Maintain a half smile throughout every second of the day.
Give all your attention and focus to the task at hand. Be it washing dishes, setting the table, vacuuming the floor, dusting the house, or even reading a book. It’s important to not perform any task with the mindset of “let’s just get this over with so that I can do something that I like”. The feeling a task is a nuisance will disappear if done in mindfulness.
Everything you do, every movement, every step, should be performed deliberately, slowly and without reluctance. At lunchtime, after you’ve prepared your meal in mindfulness, become aware of the infinite number of tastes while chewing your food. Eat in silence with no stimulation such as TV, cell phones, etc. It was once said that a zen master can get as much pleasure from a grain of rice as a western citizen can get from buying a new car. Every morsel of food can bring you an unthinkable amount of fulfillment if you sit down and actually taste it. Mindful of every flavor that enters the threshold of your taste buds. When you do this, you savor food like never before.
The only thing that life has to offer is the present moment. Not the future or the past, but the here and the now. Don’t worry about what you have to do or what you’ve done wrong. Simply be.
Whatever tasks you do beyond these examples, do them in mindfulness. Become aware of the fact that you’re doing them and let that thing become the only thing that matters during that given moment in time. Another benefit of mindfulness is that concentration skyrockets.
Maintain a Spirit of Silence
Thich Nhat Hanh stated in “The Miracle of Mindfulness” that for beginners practicing a day of mindfulness, or even in mindfulness for that matter, it’s best to maintain a spirit of silence. it’s much easier, when talking, to stray from mindfulness and into an oblivion of thought and emotion. So if your mindfulness strength is still weak, try to keep talking to a minimum.
Naturally, it’s possible to talk and practice mindfulness at the same time, as long as you’re conscious of the fact that you’re doing so. Conscious of the fact that you’re talking and aware of what you’re talking about. Just be warned that you will tend to live in the past and future when speaking unless you deliberately remind yourself to stay present.
Everyone has time for a day of mindfulness in their own life. It doesn’t require any time, rather it’s a state of being. You’re day of mindfulness will be exponentially beneficial based on the number of times that you complete it. Over time, if you stick with this habit, your “day of mindfulness” will spill into the other days of the week making your entire life, a life of mindfulness.
Works Cited: Hanh, Thich Nhat. Miracle of Mindfulness. Beacon, 2016. Print.