Perhaps you’ve noticed the explosion of mindfulness in the news. With a full feature on the cover of its February edition, Time Magazine declared that the “mindfulness revolution” was upon us. While all this attention on mindfulness has no doubt been beneficial, I have also noticed the media tendency to pair articles on mindfulness with breathtaking images of people meditating on mountain tops and fit athletes scantily clad practicing yoga on beaches. While the increase in awareness about mindfulness is overwhelmingly positive, the shadow that this light sometimes casts is the tendency to present mindfulness as far removed from daily life and oriented for swimsuit models.
Often media portrayals of meditation suggest that mindfulness practice involves attaining some special feeling of bliss when the daily tasks of life are removed. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! Mindfulness is not separate from the ordinary tasks of opening e-mails, attending meetings, shuttling children and doing dishes. Rather, mindfulness deepens our capacity to remain grounded and stable amid the sometimes intense demands required of us in daily life. Let’s remember that lasting happiness is less about creating extraordinary moments than it is about appreciating ordinary ones. In one sense, mindfulness practice is nothing special. This present moment awareness is the most ordinary aspect of human experience. In another sense, bringing simple non-judgmental awareness to the daily tasks of life opens us to deep levels of resilience, healing and well-being.
Try bringing mindful awareness to the ordinary moments of life this week by:
- Noticing the feeling of your feet upon the floor. Bringing awareness to the feet is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness no matter where you are.
- Shutting off the radio in the car. Listen closely to the sounds that you hear. Absorb all the visual information as the world zooms by. Practice observing without analysis.
- Select a tree or plant to observe each day as autumn unfolds. When your awareness shifts to thinking, planning or judging, gently shift your attention back to the object of attention.
Wishing you many extraordinarily ordinary moments,
Founder and Executive Director
Copper Beech Institute