black and white hand in mudra

I sit on my meditation cushion with my back straight and my eyes looking ahead of me, out my kitchen window. It’s time to be still… except I can’t stop thinking about that thing at work that’s really bugging me, and the cats are fighting again, and I didn’t get a lot of sleep, and my body is exhausted, and I should have gone to the bathroom before I sat down to meditate, and my next door neighbour was making too much noise last night, and it’s too hot in my apartment…

This scenario is familiar to anyone who’s tried to meditate even once. Our minds – always on, always churning – spin their wheels frantically when asked to slow down. But I believe – or at least this is what all the experts are telling us – that a regular meditation practice is the doorway to increased mindfulness. And why would we want mindfulness? Because then we would see – and hopefully adjust, slowly, over time – our discomfort and our addictions.

For the last few months I’ve been exploring what mindfulness tastes like. It’s not always pleasant. That is, mindfulness always tastes fine – it’s very closely related to the joys of presence – but what you experience when you lift up that rock of mindlessness is not always fun. All sorts of creepy-crawlies (like pain, and forgotten dreams, and anger, and loss) might be living under there. I find that they quickly scurry away, though… and what’s left, is connectedness. To the present moment, and to your best, most whole self.

Do you allow for mindfulness in your life? What would change if your mindfulness changed?

I recently watched a beautiful video of an interview between Zen priest Susan O’Connell and Leo Babauta about mindfulness and eating. If you’re interested in exploring your own habits – of mindfulness, and other things like eating, fitness and personal growth – you might be interested in Leo’s Sea Change program (not an affiliate link).