We all fall into habits of attention and inattention, which result in not being present in our everyday lives. Introducing small, new habits can help us.
1: Allow your Mind to Wander
Mind-wandering isn’t a problem. When we sit in formal meditation practice, our teacher might ask if our mind has wandered, and if it has, that’s ok, and to gently bring it back to the anchor point you are using. And we bring our minds back over and over during practice. The more you bring your mind back, the more awareness you develop to notice “Ah my mind is thinking this and not here doing this”. Awareness comes as you bring your attention back, over and over, to your anchor point. Awareness will naturally emerge through the practice of disengaging from automatic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and sensations. This is what a formal meditation practice gives you, with practice.
2: Befriend yourself
Notice when you are hard on yourself, what names you call yourself. When a mistake happens, do you give out to yourself or can you move on easily? When you say something and the other person doesn’t respond, do you feel silly? See this as another type of thinking, it will pass, it’s not true. Come back to your breath, your anchor, something that is real and true. Mindfulness helps you get to know yourself better as you befriend and let go.
3: Expect the Unexpected
Expect to notice more things in the world around you, both good and bad. This is good, your mindfulness practice lets you hold space within you with more compassion. When you notice the bad things, the suffering, see if you can hold YOURSELF with kindness and compassion. This is open-hearted awareness to the experiences happening around you and you begin to respond, not react to the world through a lens of compassion.
4: Notice when you are striving or trying too hard
Don’t try to force a situation or an outcome. Simply be here, with it is how it is. If you want a different result, ask – what can I do right now? And listen to what comes up. Take that small step. Allow yourself to experience the moment unfolding, paying careful, compassionate attention.
5: Practice being Present
Be Here Now – Ram Das.
Mindfulness teaches us how to reestablish the innate balance between our body, mind, and spirit. When our minds get out of balance, they become busy and overworked. As a result, we lose connection to our bodies. Practising being in the moment trains the mind to come back to the body, the breath, the anchor you have chosen. Rather than focussing on what was (the past), or imagining what may be (the future), practice being here, in the present moment.