5 quick ways to relax into mindfulness right now today

>> Monday, June 29, 2009

1. Breathe
Right now, today, as you are reading this, close your eyes and listen or observe three in-breaths and three out-breaths. They don't have to be particularly slow or deep breaths. Tomorrow, try to remember to do this several times a day. I like to use the ringing phone as a reminder. Once it begins to ring, I close my eyes and take a few breaths. Then, I answer the phone.

2. Walk
Today, when you are done at the computer, really observe your walking. What material do your feet feel? Your socks, flip flops, or the floor? How does it feel? Rough, supported, warm? How does each step feel? Are you walking steady, slow or fast, or wobbly? Really observe how your heel hits the floor and which part of your foot comes next. This is a form of walking meditation that can be practiced anywhere, anytime. For slightly longer walks, some like to match their pace with their breathing. My pace is usually three paces on the in-breath and three on the out-breath.

3. Wash the Dishes
That's right, it's possible to very mindful when doing household tasks, such as the dishes, even if it's just loading and unloading them. Consider what you are doing. I like to say a little gatha to myself:
"I am loading the silverware, I am loading the silverware, front to back, back to front."

I do the same for bowls, plates, etc. I know this sounds out there, but let's face it, you are probably out there in mindless space more than you are here in the moment. Even doing dishes is a moment in your life. Why not be present to it?

4. Meditate
Right now, today, here is a little meditation to try. Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Say this to yourself:

"I am sitting, I am mindful, I am breathing, I am." For the sitting, observe your body's position and how it relates to sitting. For the mindful, observe how your skin feels where clothed and where bare. For the breathing, try counting to 20, using odd numbers, (in one, out one, in three, out three), then back down from 20 using even numbers (in twenty, out twenty, in eighteen, out eighteen).

5. Sleep
When trying to fall asleep tonight, try this gatha: "Laying down (in breath), resting finally (out breath), I am resting my body (in breath) and recharging my mind (out breath)."

I would love to hear from you about this, please comment below!