Mindfulness is a form of meditation where you practise being aware of whatever is happening in the present moment without judging or thinking about it. If you’ve been watching your breath, then you’re already practising mindfulness. It’s one of the simplest and most powerful meditation practices because it can be done anywhere and at any time. There’s no excuse for not practising mindfulness!
Mindfulness is simply about paying attention to whatever you’re doing. Normally your attention is scattered all over the place. You can be doing one thing, or maybe even several things at once, but your mind is busy thinking about something else. Mindfulness helps you to focus on one thing at a time. If you’re really paying attention, you’ll also become more aware of being present in your body while you’re doing whatever it is you’re focused on.
Being mindful makes it easier to concentrate by filtering out distractions and unnecessary thoughts. When you practice mindfulness, you can stay calm in difficult situations and this helps to improve your relationships because you’ll be more present with the people you love. Life also becomes more vivid and interesting and you start to notice the little things more. You appreciate the beauty of the natural world and may even begin to find the urban environment beautiful, full of the hidden glory of all life.
- Helps you focus on what you’re doing
- Transforms daily chores into spiritual practice
- Encourages mindful presence every day
You can practise mindfulness when doing simple daily tasks and it’s easy to incorporate into your routine. Any task, no matter how dull, can be transformed with mindfulness. Making a cup of tea, brushing your teeth, taking out the rubbish, filing your tax return…
Mindfulness: Washing Up
- Decide to do the washing up mindfully. This means you need no distractions, so switch off the radio or TV, and send others away. Once you get the hang of mindfulness, you can do it even if there’s lots going on.
- Begin to wash up and take your time. There’s no rush. Wash one item at a time and focus on what you’re doing. What does the water feel like on your hands? The smell of the washing up liquid, the play of light on the water, the feel of the cloth against the plate…
- If thoughts intrude, bring your focus back to the task in hand. Don’t give yourself a hard time if you get distracted, just bring your attention back to the washing up.
- Really notice the plates and bowls, but also notice how you’re standing. Relax your shoulders, breathe evenly. Enjoy washing up!
This may feel boring when you first try it, but keep practising. You’ll be surprised at the results!