Every day we have so many things to do and so many tasks to complete that it can be difficult for us to be mindful: to be aware of what we are doing and how we are doing it; to be present and awake; to attend to our own existence; to let ourselves be enveloped by the here and the now; by the moment we are living in, and which is the most valuable thing we can ever have.
But being mindful is essential to reaching the depths of who we are.
Often, I find myself guilty of letting minutes and hours slip by vaguely and indistinctly while I am wholly absorbed by the uncertain future or memories that spring without warning.
I try then to snap out of it, to attend to what I am doing, whether it is dusting my room, eating, walking, or working; to stop being an automaton and plunge into the here and the now.
I begin by becoming aware of my breathing, of that existential swing in my breast, that up and down, that in and out miracle.
And then I become aware of my weight and the pressure under my feet, and of what my senses are taking in.
And let me tell you that it is a wonderful sensation to wake up like that to your own existence, even if it is only for a brief moment. Even if, a moment later, the practicalities of life absorb me again.
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
Not all of us have the time or the inclination to meditate like the Buddhists do.
But all of us can try to become a little more aware every day.
You know, to smell that morning coffee or tea and drink in its flavor before taking the cup to your lips.
And to appreciate the soft comfort of the clothes your wear.
And to welcome the warm approval of the sun rays as you go out there into the world.
And to mind your breathing, to feel your lungs swell with the air that sustains your existence.
And to enjoy the simple act of walking from here to there and back again; to be here, to be now trying to enjoy what you do, to be fully aware of those around you and of your loved ones.
In short, to attend to your own life and actually live rather than settle down in the comfortable position of the spectator and watch you days unfold one after the other, their passing marked only by our achievements, memories, and the changing of the seasons.
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
So many things are beyond our control. Even if we work hard, even if we give all we have, not all of us will see our dreams come true, not all of us will get to see the pyramids, or the Niagara falls, or be married and have happy families, or succeed professionally, or change the world for the better.
If we judge our lives based on our achievements, we will invariably be disappointed.
But if we are mindful, if we work hard and do our best, and if we attend to the here and the now, and take the good and the bad as they come, then we have not lived in vain.
To me, to live your life means to be mindful.
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, whether you’re scrubbing floors, reading, walking on white sands beside your lover, or watching the August sunset through the dusty window of a solitary house.
If you are mindful, you are not living in vain.
Is being mindful important to you? Are you as mindful as you would like to be?