Taking opportunities to be mindful may be a new thing for many of us. It might be something we are quite use to doing. Whatever our place on our journey into mindfulness the following will be helpful to keep in mind.
Deliberately Focusing Attention: In mindfulness the focus of attention can be anything. The focus of our attention can be quite broad, e.g., whatever is going on around us, or narrow, e.g., our breathing, something we can see, what we can hear, something we are doing. Whatever the focus of our attention we will notice other things as they come into our awareness. There is no need to try to stop this from happening. Rather when we notice it happening, notice it and then turn our attention back to the focus of our attention for that practice. This can happen over and over again. It is normal and natural for this to happen. The important thing is to KEEP GOING no matter how many times our attention wanders and we have to return our attention back to what we are trying to focus on.
Bringing Kindness and Compassion to our Practice: In mindfulness we are encouraged to let go of judgements and criticisms of our thoughts, emotions or ourselves that may arise. We don’t try to stop them, rather when we notice them we turn our attention back to the focus of our attention for the practice. Sometimes the judgements may be about our mindfulness practice, e.g., that we are not doing it correctly, that we should be able to do it better, that we are not meeting whatever expectations might have popped into our mind. The important thing is to KEEP GOING no matter how many times this happens always returning our attention back to what we are trying to focus on.
Creating Space for Mindfulness: When we make mindfulness part of our everyday routines, we increase the likelihood that we will create space to practice mindfulness. Find a spot in your day when you do something regularly that you could finish with a mindfulness practice, e.g., your morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea.
Incidental Mindfulness: Pick something we do regularly and make it the focus for practicing mindfulness, e.g., taking a shower, drinking your morning cuppa, eating breakfast, walking to the letter box.
Keep Going, Keep Going, Keep Going: Sometimes our mindfulness practice will go just as we had hoped. Other times we may find it a struggle. We may get into a regular routine and then something will happen to disrupt this. No matter what happens we can keep going simply by “Beginning again” no matter how long the gap since the last time we deliberately focused on being mindful.