Mindfulness is a buzz-word these days, with doctors, healers, coaches, and gurus all touting its benefits. But it can be so hard to remember to be mindful.
You’ll likely agree that awareness practice sounds like a good idea, but that you’ll get to it later when you have time to focus. I’ve made that move. I know how hard it can be to get serious about supporting a change in my consciousness.
It can feel a lot easier to defer this kind of growth when there’s so much to tend to during any given day. And there’s also our faithful inner resistance to new ways of being that could disturb “business as usual.”
Even when our programs aren’t really working for us, they still insist that they are, and that we mustn’t stray from their mandates.
To stop the tyranny of our inner autopilots, we must find ways to interrupt them. And although they are wily and persistent, the good news is, a little bit of attention can disrupt them in a major way!
You can test this out right now.
Dare #1: Using your non-judgmental inner observer, simply stay focused on your body sensations for 5 breaths. Don’t read further until you’ve tried this. Please- it’ll be interesting, and will take less than 30 seconds!
What did you notice?
Some people will notice a kind of peace, presence or groundedness that is comfortable and supportive. Others will commonly notice thoughts, feelings, or other external stimuli grabbing their attention. Some of the thoughts may be part of a familiar narrative: “This is random.” Or “I’m not doing it right.” Or “I’m really good at mindfulness,” etc.
Whether you had a more spacious experience or you had one with more static, both of these disrupted the usual operations of your habit of attention. One experience is generally more pleasurable (if rare), and the other more familiar.
So, even just attempting to notice our experience directly can get the system all fired up. That’s how threatening it can feel to the personality structures that run us.
Ah ha! Less than 30 seconds of attempting to notice your sensations had the power to get your habitual patterns to either relax or to get on guard. That’s revolutionary!
Mindfulness like this can seem simplistic or a “mild” tool at first blush, but, like the power of flowing water or penetrating sunlight, it has the potent capacity to erode and melt our rigid forms, helping old structures soften their edges, honing us to be receptive to the presence of our true nature.
Dare #2: Repeat this 5 breaths attending to body sensations practice three times tomorrow and see how it affects your experience.
I’d love to hear what arises in you in the comments below.