Here’s a great practice to incorporate to bring mindfulness into your daily life. Essentially, it’s “meditation in action.” I like to say that when we meditate on the cushion each day, it’s more of our “formal practice” but that the rubber hits the proverbial road when we are out in the world practicing mindfulness and meditation in action.
Here are a few simple ideas to bring mindfulness and meditation into your daily life:
- Make a practice of noticing and mindfully observing your mental states without judgment or resistance. You may notice that several difficult states appear together at any one time. These might include worry, agitation, confusion, grasping, restlessness, misperception.
- At some point during your day, stop to notice and track the course of your mental states. Without any judgment, just notice what you are feeling, the level of intensity of the feeling, how long it lasts and how much you might be caught up in it. If you’d like to, it might be helpful to take notes and write them down. Do this for a few more days and at the end of those days, take stock of what it has felt like to mindfully acknowledge these difficult states. If it has helped you illuminate them and let go of them, continue the practice. Over time, this practice will begin to help you become fully aware of the feelings that surface but also allow you to choose to allow the feelings to take over to choose to allow them to dissipate.
- Next, in that same way, look for a day when you feel positive and start to mindfully observe the healthy states that are present. You might notice love, wisdom, joy, confidence, clarity, balance. Notice these feelings, how long they last and how intense or not they are. Ask yourself whether you are also grasping (hanging on) to them. It might help to take notes here as well. Do this again for a few more days. After that, start to recognize that you can be aware of and support these healthy states with your attention.
This can become a very powerful exercise going forward. In this practice, you are beginning to establish awareness and tap into our feelings with the intention of noticing them, labeling them and allowing them to come and go without attachment to them.
This is the beginning of creating a new practice of mindfulness throughout your day. Continue this practice and notice if you are becoming more tuned in to your feelings – positive or negative – and if you are beginning to choose which feelings you want to encourage and foster.