18th March 2016
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
I have always felt lucky that my life’s journey has been accompanied by animals. They give me so much and they always remind me of being attentive, being present.
Have you ever tried to pet a cat and your thoughts were elsewhere? If I dare doing so with our furry Queen she will immediately make me aware of my inattention in her company and give me some fine swipes or bite me. Can I blame her for doing so? No, of course not; she just wants me to focus on her and her alone. When I give her all my attention while cuddling her, she is purring happily away and I can enjoy this moment very much as well, it puts my body and mind at ease .
Not being attentive and present with a horse can actually be pretty dangerous. The minute I focus on the animal and my work with them, they are ready to co-operate and we can both enjoy the time with each other. Doing so is like a deep meditation for me.
Those are only two examples for which I chose my animals and my leisure time. However, the principle applies for all areas of our life. Very often we are just not happy with doing what we do because we are somewhere else with our thoughts and do not pay attention to the here and now. Hence we might find a meeting boring, cannot find an accord with a client, lose control while being with our partner or children, etc.
As soon as we pay attention and focus on our present activities and the people we are with in that very moment we turn whatever we do into something important. We live in the present and might actually enjoy what we are doing and whom we are with.
Paying attention – being mindful – gives us the possibility to live our life to the full and to appreciate what we have. We will be able to gain peace of mind, be happy and content; and we will be able to achieve the all-important balance in life. The extra bonus: We create better interpersonal relationships and get better results in what we do.
1. When we pay attention to every single participant and the agenda of a meeting we make everything and everyone more important and show our respect. The mood changes to the positive, we can participate actively in the meeting and all of a sudden it becomes more interesting, more fun and more fruitful.
2. Paying attention while talking to our client and focusing on them we are giving them the feeling of being most important to us and we show them our respect. We can attune to them (building rapport), our communication will bring better results and we can create a win-win situation.
3. Are we fully present with our kids helping them with their homework or while chatting with them? This gives us the opportunity to re-connect with them. We show them how important they are to us, and that we take them and their challenges serious. This will help us to tighten the bonds and gain their trust.
Just for one day try to see everything you do and every person you are with as most important task or person in that moment. Give them your full attention and be grateful for them.
1. When you take a shower, try to notice everything. What does the water running over your skin feel like? What does your shower gel or soap smells like, and how does that feel on your skin? What does taking a shower do with your body and mind in general? Send loving thoughts to your body. Be grateful for having access to clean and warm water to do so. Send loving thoughts to your body. What does it feel like to wrap yourself into your towel? What else do you notice?
2. When eating or drinking something sit down properly and do it consciously, don’t do it while standing, reading or watching TV. First of all, smell your food and/or drink. Have a look at its texture, its consistency. What’s the colour like? What does it feel like in your mouth; is it soft or crunchy? Is it cold, warm or hot? Chew your food slowly, have your drink sip by sip; and notice all the flavours. Enjoy everything and be grateful for it.
3. When you have a conversation with someone, pay them your full attention. Try to understand the true meaning of the conversation. Try to understand their point of view and try to walk in their shoes. Be grateful that you have people who are having a conversation with you.
4. When you wash the dishes or clean your home do it as if it was the most important activity you could possibly do at that moment. Be happy that you have nice dishes/flat to wash/clean and the possibility to do so with clean water and in freedom.
You might wonder how much more fun you are going to have in your life. You will feel much better because everything you do at any given moment is important and gives you the opportunity to show gratitude. You will enjoy your life more and be happier – hence you will gain more balance in your life.
This tip is not meant to tell you never to think about the future again and make plans for it. It is more a recommendation that when you do so – pay attention to it and focus on it completely.
In case you would like to get more insight on mindfulness from a Buddhist point of view have a look at Paul’s website: http://www.establishmindfulness.com/
You can also find some guided meditation there.
He also wrote a really practical guide about how to establish mindfulness in western everyday life. You can read more about it and/or order it here. http://goo.gl/W9cjQd
I do not benefit from your purchase of his book. It is just a recommendation from my side because Paul was my and my hubby’s teacher for Buddhism, Meditation and Mindfulness for many years when we were living in London. He is a long term practitioner of mindfulness who lectures at a beautiful Buddhist Thai Temple in Wimbledon, London, and continues his learning via a Buddhist forest monastery in the South East of England.
Last but not least, as you all know me being nosy and all that. What have you done already to establish mindfulness into your everyday life? Please share it with us at the bottom of this site under “comments”.
Wishing you a peaceful and happy life.
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