5 Ways to Master Mindfulness

I once said something brilliant (well, maybe twice). Upon entering a meeting with a group of friends I exclaimed, “The best part of being here is being here.” That is mindfulness: increased awareness of feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations, and the environment.

“Mindfulness” is a translation of the Pail term Sati, which is a significant element of some Buddhist traditions. It is embodied in the popular phrase “one day at a time.”

One may wonder, what good is that? Are humans really interested in tuning into this natural wisdom? Wouldn’t it be easier to binge watch reruns of Grey’s Anatomy?

Remember that the best part of mindfulness is that it doesn’t require lessons, tapes, religion or the lotus position – these are simply aids to learning. “Being mindful” simply means living in the moment.

When in a funk, feeling agitated, or in any state, bringing the mind to the moment is always the answer. Often the solution or the way out eludes us, learning how to unplug – even for just a minute – and watch how many issues have disappeared when plugging back in.

Here are five ways to find mindfulness every day.

  1. Mindful Listening: With all of the world’s distractions, truly listening to others can feel impossible. When it seems difficult, try minimizing surroundings by removing clutter and electronics. Before meeting someone, take a deep breath, clear the mind and relax.
  2. Mindful Walking: Don’t focus on the end. Remember that every step is enjoyable. Feel your own presence. Every step helps connect with the wonders of life.
  3. Mindful Breathing: When practicing mindful breathing, simply allow breath to happen. Become aware of it and enjoy it. Breathe without effort. Frequently, I remind my students to just bend from the waist—pick up a scrap from the floor or pretend to tie a shoe (even one without laces)—bringing the mind into the moment.
  4. Mindful Eating: Stop rushing to eat in a hurry. Make every meal and every bite an intentional choice that nourishes the body.
  5. Mindful Love: Mindfulness means becoming aware of what is already true, moment by moment. To love mindfully requires intent and honesty. Reflect on the connections with those around you, and most importantly, nurture self-love.

The real miracle is not standing on your head or walking on fire. Feeling fully connected and centered comes from within. Bring the mind home to the body, become alive.

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