I randomly chose this card this morning before my morning sit. It shares this simple wisdom of Thich Nhat Hahn. It made me smile because it reminded me that formal meditation practice is great but the real work comes in bringing mindfulness to the mundane – to every day activities that we often do on auto pilot. This can be a helpful way to feel fully present even for just a moment.
Choose one simple activity to do mindfully, with your full attention, such as washing hands or dishes, showering, cooking, drinking coffee, getting dressed, even scrolling through texts/emails/social media. Use all your senses. How does the soap feel on your hands? What are you actually doing? Be in the activity. Notice your attention.
Your mind will wander and you will likely notice how much it wanders now that we’re purposefully paying attention to your attention. That’s good! Every time you notice is a moment of practice. Kindly & gently bring your attention back to your body and the activity.
It’s normal to feel frustrated or even resistant to this practice. You are disrupting your habitual ways of responding and relating to your experiences. It’s a learning process. Do what you can. There’s no test; there’s no standard of success. It’s a practice that asks you to begin again and again. So be kind to your wandering mind; it’s the mind’s favorite thing to do.
And when the activity is over, pause and savor the moments/seconds you were fully in it. This is an essential step to integration, to learning, to retraining the brain.
Mindfulness practice is an act of remembering and beginning again and again.