“Would you like a drink Sarah?” I asked.
“Can I have a coffee please?”, my wife replied from the other room.
I opened the cupboard and grabbed our favourite mugs that we received as a wedding present, Mr and Mrs mugs. It reminded me of the wedding day. I smile. I sprinkle coffee into the mugs.
Soon the thoughts in my head, within a matter of seconds move from the wedding day that was six months ago to thinking of having to go to work today. This leads my thoughts to replay a confrontation I had with someone at work the day before.
I then imagine how I will approach them today, how I will try to resolve the situation peacefully. I even begin conversing with this person in my head. I hear their imaginary replies with my imaginary responses. Emotions arise in my body, starting in the pit of my stomach rising into my chest as if the very event was happening now.
The person I’m thinking of suddenly become defensive and I react in the same manner as I respond more defensively with an internal dialogue. Then something happens and makes me realise that I have just been totally lost in my mind absorbed in thinking.
I laugh out loud. It sounds like madness but it is actually the recognition of my own insanity that creates this spontaneous response by the way of laughter and by the fact that I have put sweeteners in both mugs.
Only Sarah has sweeteners, I have never had them in my life. I was so distracted by the internal dialogue of the ego that something as simple as making a coffee for myself was made wrong. So I smile, I stop where I am. For a short moment I just stand there, no actions, no internal talking to myself. There is just an observation of thoughts, images and emotions.
I take a mindful in-breath and on the out-breath I really relax into the body continuing to gently smile, to carry on observing the internal drama. Then with one more mindful breath the thoughts start to recede, the emotions fade a little and with a more alert attention and calmer demeanour, I make the coffee the correct way.
It is so easy to become distracted in our everyday actions. You may not think that making a drink wrong is such a big deal and it’s not really is it. But what it does show us is that if we can become so easily distracted even when making coffee imagine how this could affect us in every other area of our lives.
When we lose our attention in every thought, in each emotion that arises within us, we lose the ability to experience the fullness of life. Driving a car is a good example. If you drive yourself, there will have been times when suddenly you realise you have been so lost in thought. Even though you have driven correctly to your chosen destination you can’t remember much of the journey. You were basically running on auto pilot.
This lack of mindful attention can affect our relationships too whether they be personal or work related, whatever they may be. Have you ever been in a conversation and then suddenly find yourself captured in your own thoughts and then you realise you have just missed what the other person said. It happens to all of us and again you might not think it’s such a problem. But I shall use those same four words again, ‘the fullness of life’.
The present moment is here to be embraced. Thinking is a wonderful process to help us engage in many different aspects of our lives. As we all know, it helps us to perform the most basic of tasks like remember a shopping list, how to get ready in the morning, which direction you need to travel to work and for example, we can use our thoughts to create pieces of art, music and many other wonderful things.
But there are many times that we become so engaged in our mind with some imaginary tale, scenario or event, even everyday thoughts, that we almost become unconscious, like a robot, unaware of what we are even doing. We mindlessly go about our days, lost in our minds, disengaged with life itself and the people we have contact with. There is a time and a place to use thoughts but so often we are used by them.
So we return to the three conscious breaths that we discussed in the previous mindfulness practice to bring us back into the fullness of life. From that moment forward, having created a sacred space, you can then begin to engage with life more fully.
It’s important to practice mindfulness even when making a cup of coffee because if you become so easily distracted during a simple action then you will find during the day that you constantly slip in and out of conscious awareness, which is another way of saying being mindful.
When you embrace the fullness of life through the practice of mindfulness you no longer get drawn into fictitious scenarios that usually never end up being like you imagine it to be anyway. Or if you have imagined it correctly, the outcome and conversation, the feelings and emotions that you experience in the mind dream are never exactly the same as it happens in real life. So it’s pointless and plus you have to make the coffee twice.
When you embrace the fullness and joy of life nothing becomes a chore. You listen intently with an alert attention when conversing with others, this adds another positive element to your relationships. With daily tasks such as driving, using public transport or even taking a walk in the park. When you no longer become fixated by a continuous stream of thought you no longer miss that beautiful sunrise, the birds flying by in the sky, the smell of freshly cut grass, the smile from a stranger, even the right sweetners in a mug of coffee or indeed and most importantly, you never miss the fullness of life.
These posts are part of my mindfulness course, “A Little Piece of Mindfulness for Everyday Living”. This is a mindfulness course borne out of my own experiences and spontaneous living. It is not a programme for you to follow as a set routine in a robotic kind of fashion. It is simply to inspire you to live a more mindful life. To learn to live in the present moment and to show you that it is possible to live a life of spontaneous joy, peace and harmony.
Let us together, step by step, through our daily living, through the love of our hearts and the peace of our minds, touch the souls of others and raise the vibration of the planet so that we may all live in a more peaceful, compassionate and loving world. Namaste ॐ