I took a walk recently and came to these two bridges near my home. I decided to incorporate a ‘mindful trigger’ in my life, which is a rule I’ve created for myself: whenever I walk over a bridge, I practice breathing. I call this the ‘breathing bridge meditation’.
It’s one of many ways I work to remember to practice mindfulness in my everyday life. If we can all think of a mindfulness trigger like this, we’ll be cultivating the practice and making our awareness stronger.
Mindfulness isn’t difficult; but we sometimes think it is. We complain when we’ve been practising it for years and not getting any results. We tell ourselves off for not meditating every day, or for forgetting to be mindful in situations when, in hindsight, it would’ve been extremely valuable to have done so. Our mind is always letting us know when we’re wrong, or a failure, and yet, all of these labels are just mental formations made up by our thinking brain: they’re not actually real; they’re not of the moment. What is wrong? What is failure? These are concepts that we cling to, because we’re used to clinging on to them.
As soon as you focus on your awareness, you’re being mindful. You’re mindful of your breathing. You’re mindful of your cup of tea. You’re mindful of the rain hitting your window. These things are just breathing. Just drinking. Just listening. There’s no ‘mind label’ of right or wrong, or success or failure. Things just are. It is just what it is.
At those times, we’ve become mindful. You’re doing it! You’ve achieved it – so how difficult is it? We can all do it because we’re born with awareness. Try it right now. Take a deep breath, feeling the air as you breathe-in, feeling the air as you breathe-out. A moment of mindfulness.
What’s curious is because we re-enter our mind that labels everything, we often lose mindfulness for a while as we journey through our heads. Yet we’re only truly a moment away from reclaiming it, from coming back to ourselves with our awareness in the present moment.
Small but often practice starts to see changes. Putting mindfulness post-it notes over your house; having a routine everyday to have a go is wonderful. This creates a discipline, just like when I walk over bridges, I always stop and take a full breath. It’s built in me now to do that.
So, notice if your mind labels mindfulness to be ‘difficult’, or ‘worthless’, or that ‘I’m not doing it right’, or ‘only people who have time on their hands can do it’, or ‘I’ve not time to sit and just be, look at all the stuff that needs doing’ etc. By noticing your thoughts and labels, you become mindful. This is what letting go of judgment means. You simple engage with what is going on now.
Wishing everyone all the best in these current times. May we all manage little moments of mindfulness to ground us and nurture us.