ARE YOU CHECKED OUT OF YOUR LIFE?

If you are new to meditation, you are probably like most people and need a little nudge to get a routine established before it becomes part of your life. Like an exercise routine, we benefit from support from others, such as a running buddy or a co-worker to join yoga class immediately after work. Sometimes the lull of the couch and the TV can have paralyzing effects once we are home, particularly if you are experiencing a snowy, frigid winter.

The MBSR course I am teaching is approaching the eighth and final class this week. After almost two months of mindfulness practice, some participants are ready to go solo, while others prefer the support of guided meditation. An area where we all could use a little assistance (including myself) is in bringing more awareness into everyday life.

How can we keep the mindfulness channel on? When the bell rings, it implies the meditation is over. For some, the bell may come too early, while others may have wanted the bell to ring ten minutes earlier.

What if the meditation is not over when the bell rings?

What if you didn’t turn off your awareness of the current moment?

What if we brought the intention to be attentive to each moment?

Awareness is always available to us. I don’t pretend to be aware 24/7. I check out from time to time even under supportive conditions of silent retreats. Mindfulness is simply bringing our attention to the present moment and we don’t have to make it more work than we need. It is a simple as right now, knowing you are reading this blog and feeling your body connecting to what it is in contact with. For me, it’s simply knowing that my fingers are pressing the keys to the laptop, and I’m aware of spooning steel cut oats into my mouth and sensing the taste of the oats, the almonds and the dried fruit. Throughout the day you can ask yourself the question:

WHAT AM I AWARE OF IN THIS MOMENT?

If you are running, you could be aware of your arms swinging by your side, the quality of the air as it meets your mouth and nose, the feet striking the ground or beads of sweat forming on your skin.

Think back over the last 24 hours. Were you functioning on autopilot or present when you were driving, showering, eating or communicating with others? Were you lost in planning the next scheduled activity or replaying something from the past?

What can you do today to bring more awareness to your day?