It’s the door to serenity, your soul and your inner voice, it’s the quiet when everything is not so quiet, and it’s the way to find not only yourself but others.
I first learned of mindfulness while in treatment for my addiction from my counselor Beth F. She taught dialectical behavioral therapy. In her group, the world made sense, I did not have to be right all the time, and I found peace in the moment. It was after treatment that I sought out Thich Nhat Hanh, the author of several good books, my favorite being “You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment.”
Being mindful to me means being in the moment, doing only what you are doing and thinking about what it is you are doing. Thich Nhat Hanh gives an example of doing laundry. He says, “When folding your clothes, only concentrate on folding your clothes.” Try it, I dare you! Your clothes will be so perfectly folded you will be amazed. It’s almost crazy these days to only be doing one thing and not thinking of other more important tasks. There’s always something more important, right?
I’m young, and I don’t want to focus on doing laundry. I have more important things to-do than laundry, right? So I found other ways to be mindful. For me, it can be as simple as listening to the water in the shower and only focusing on that for just a minute or two. I think, ‘Where did this water come from? How much water am I using? This water is so precious and I am thankful for the water I have to bathe in.’ Have you ever really listened to the water hitting the floor of your shower and nothing else? It can be relaxing and humbling.
Music is another biggie for me. I try to escape into the magic of music. To sit back to some Jack White and really focus on the melody and the rhythm, the time it took to create such music, and the overwhelming support he has. It can be so relaxing… de-stressing… and it’s being mindful.
While I might not be a master at being mindful, I try. Some say you should be mindful of what you eat, listen to, and everything you do—and yeah I do that too, but not as often as I should.
Mindfulness brings appreciation and insight by being in the moment of whatever it is you’re doing. You can be mindful about everything. The next time you go to the grocery store and you pick up those red apples, think about the time it took for those apples to grow, who picked them, and where they came from.
I tried to be mindful while writing this but I will never be perfect.
When was the last time you were mindful of something? What will you be mindful of after reading this? How can mindfulness bring serenity to your world?
Sean Henry Morrison is a guest contributor
“I play in the world, I find passion in my day. Together we can break the stigmas; we can recover together. You can find me on Twitter as @simplyeasylivin
Grateful to be in recovery from Drugs and Alcohol since 2-1-2011″
Excellent article. I’m always torn when I read these articles. On one hand, the more the average person hears about meditation or mindfulness, the more apt they are to investigate for themselves. On the other hand, most modern implementations of mindfulness practice are not very good. Not only do most mindfulness teachers and psychologists/psychiatrists not know what mindfulness really is, they can’t explain how it works, why it was originally used, or how to continue on with any of the more advanced meditation techniques practicing mindfulness prepares you for.
Sean, again, nice article. Your excitement for the subject is inspiring. I’m including this link to more information about mindfulness for you. http://appliedawareness.org/article/what-is-mindfulness Feel free to remove it from this comment if you like. I just thought it important that you understand that mindfulness is just the tip of the iceberg. Further options and adventures await you..