How are you? Mind full or mindful? I can imagine you wondering; “what’s the difference anyway?” I had that same prompt reaction, along with a frustrated mood of awareness over how full my mind had been. Unfortunately I had no clue whatsoever on how to change it… Then something happened and it’s been more than a year, that I’ve been flirting with mindfulness, and I hereby confess that I have taken my relationship to a highly intimate level.
If this ‘mind-thing’ interests you, keep on reading. If it doesn’t, then get back to where you were right before you got here. But hold on! Do you recall where that was? If you do, you can consider you are mindful; and if you don’t, that’s all right. You are not alone…
Before starting on the mind-thing, I invite you to pause for short while and think over on your last experience with your last cup of coffee. You may be wondering –“Come on, what does that mean ‘my experience with my last cup of coffee’? What sort of experience am I to have with a cup of coffee anyway?” A simple cup of coffee may add up a lot of new experiences, once enjoyed fully. Please recall: when was the last time you fully enjoyed your coffee?
Have you tried drinking every single sip of your coffee with all your senses –have you inhaled the distinctive smell into your nostrils and down to your lungs; have you intensely observed the steam ascending into thin air; have you noticed the color and the shiny body of liquid it has; have you noticed the warmth in your mouth; have you noticed any difference in taste; and have you felt the reflexive sensation in your glands, urging you to swallow every sip? Personally, a cup of coffee has never tasted so good. How about a cup now?
Mindfulness –or mindful living, is a lifetime practice and state of being that we can choose for ourselves. It is the opening of our awareness to the details around us –to our experiences, to the familiar subjects and events we are surrounded with. It is re-opening our ability of sight and enjoying every single fraction of detail around. We notice details through intentionally paying attention and searching to see new detail in each fraction, rather than getting entangled to the eye-catching distractions. It is enjoying every second of our experiences, using all our five senses, and absorbing the taste, just as in the coffee. It is the noticing every detail in nature, with all its colors, odors, sounds and touch.
But… Do we do that? How can we? We, the urbanized humans, already busy striving to cope with our hectic and busy lives, try to maintain a weird ‘harmony’ with highly ‘creative’ monologues in our heads. This inner chatter in our mind, reminds or warns us of various things –the bill to be paid, the report to be completed at manager’s desk; telling us what we can, cannot, or should do –‘no way you can run a marathon’, ‘you better lose some weight if you…’, or ‘you can do that, if you…’; or simply taking us back to re-experience past events. It simply never stops.
Completely unaware of these monologues while running in our routines, meetings and chores, that we lose our ability to slow down and function in the pace that our mind and body requires. We become automatic operating species, running on autopilot, without clear awareness on what is going on around or about ourselves. Once we begin bringing our mind to the present, we may have a peaceful moment of awareness, and mindfully enjoy our experiences in the present moment.
Paulo Coelho, in his 1988 dated book, The Alchemist, reminds mindful way of living with a remarkable story: A young man seeking for essence of life comes across with the wisest man in the world, and is advised to carry a teaspoon of oil throughout the grounds. On his return, with teaspoon full, the wisest man asks of the marvels he had seen. The young man, unable to tell, realizes that he had failed to notice the marvels around him, because he had been too busy focusing on not spoiling the oil. “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.” (p. 32). I believe that we are missing a lot of, by being less aware and attentive.
Then, here comes the question: How? How can we develop our awareness and attentiveness to our experiences? In a way, it is some kind of a Matrix that we have created for ourselves, and trying to fit in. What’s the way out? This reminds me of the Red pill in the Matrix; we may choose the Red pill –the mindful way of living, go into a wonderland, experience the true nature of life with all our five senses, and fully enjoy our cup of coffee, or choose the Blue pill and go on as we are.
Interested with the Red pill? Then stay hooked! More is coming. For any comments or sharing, you’re most glad to contact. Enjoy the ride!