One of my principles when I’m working is to focus on one thing at a time. Unfortunately, my mind isn’t always with me on this one.
For instance, sometime ago, when I was taking a shower after a running exercise, my mind kept thinking about cutting trees on the riverfront close to us. So even if I was doing one thing (taking a shower), my mind was elsewhere, and I wasn’t enjoying the shower to the fullest.
The Miracle of Mindfulness
Just recently, I read a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, called The Miracle of Mindfulness. Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk, living in Vietnam.
Now, I’m not a Buddhist, myself, but the book contained a lot of valuable advice on mindfulness and meditation (something I like to learn more).
For instance, he said when you are drinking tea, focus fully on the tea, not what you are going to do next. Whatever you are doing, put your 100% focus on it.
Then, I remembered his words when I was showering. I took my mind off cutting trees and focused on showering instead.
Do things the mindful way
I have found that doing things the mindful way is my new, preferred way of doing things. Mindfulness is being focused, yet alert, and fully aware of what you are doing.
So instead of rushing from one thing to another, my plan is now the opposite:
Meditate. In short, meditation is the path to mindfulness. It’s about focusing on the breath for a certain amount of time. When the mind starts to wander, put your focus back on breathing.
Be aware. For instance, when showering, be fully aware that you are showering. When drinking coffee, be fully aware of it. When doing the dishes, just do the dishes.
Intentionally slow down your pace. This is perhaps one of the most unconventional pieces of advice I have heard, but it works. So rather than rushing from one task to another, take your time. Slow down your pace.
As Hahn says: “Whatever the tasks, do them slowly and with ease, in mindfulness. Don’t do any task in order to get it over with. Resolve to do each job in a relaxed way, with all your attention. Enjoy and be one with your work.”
Now, I’m not perfect on this, so more practice is required. But I’m determined to fully grasp this concept in my everyday work, and I’m making progress on it.
Focus on the things you enjoy. This has really helped me to enjoy even more the things that I already find pleasant. It’s like an amplifying effect.
For instance, focusing on writing the words on the document makes the process much more enjoyable. Focusing on your child when spending time with him makes the experience more enjoyable. Focusing on the relaxation massage makes it more pleasurable.
How to get started with mindfulness
If you want to learn more about meditation and mindfulness, there are a couple of books I would recommend:
- Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan
- The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner
- Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hahn and Lilian Cheung
If you want to get started as easily as possible, start with the Search Inside Yourself first, since it’s easy to read and contains plenty of tips on meditation and mindfulness.
Leave a comment: Do you practice mindfulness in your workday? Any tips on how to get started? Any books you would recommend?