I’m going to let you in on the best-kept secret about being a mindfulness meditation practitioner.
And it isn’t that the food at meditation retreats is often delicious.
And it isn’t that other meditators are the nicest people you could meet.
And it isn’t that sitting meditation does great things for your posture and opening up the hip joints.
It’s this: once you skillfully learn to steer your attention away from your thoughts and to your breath in formal meditation practice, then you actually become able to steer your attention away from your thoughts and move it anywhere you want.
And this is amazing because there are so many awesome places to pay attention to.
This is really what mindfulness meditation is: a way to get control over where our attention goes.
And this is great news.
Because most of the time our attention is on little worries, big fears, ruminating about the past and fretting about the future.
And this becomes boring and unpleasant very quickly.
The main concept of mindfulness meditation is that life only exists in this moment, and if we bring our attention to this moment there is a lot of pleasantness to experience.
Here are 41 examples of things we can experience fully in the moment:
- Air in nostrils
- Saliva on tongue
- The texture of clothes against our skin
- Another person’s hand in ours
- A pet’s fur
- Feet against grass
- Fingers on a keyboard
- Hair against our cheek (another’s or our own)
- The texture of our own skin
- Hot soup in our throats
- The sight of bubbles in water
- Hot shower trickling against our scalp
- Soap slipping on skin
- Metal necklace against chest
- Leaves crunching under foot
- Smell of leaves
- Garden soil (all senses)
- Taste of tears on tongue
- The sound of a single guitar string
- The sticky cling of skin against skin
- The sound of scissors
- The weight of a knife
- The sound of a baby’s gurgle
- The sight of a mom swaying
- The first embrace of water surrounding us (after jumping in)
- Softness of a pillow
- Coziness of a blanket
- Weight of a book in our hands
- Heart pounding in anticipation
- Creases of cheek skin while we smile
- Stretching sensation of muscles being pushed past their comfort zone
- Gurgling water moving down a creek
- Toot toot of a horn instument
- Shrieking little girls
- Intense little boy sounds
- The light transitioning from day to night
- Tongue against lip (our own or another’s)
- Pulsing, shaking, releasing of orgasm
- Gravity holding us to the earth
- Anywhere we are, whatever is right in front of us, if the mind labels it as awesome, suckey or downright horrible, there is probably some sensory experience that is delightful to experience if we just steer our attention in the right direction.
Author: Ruth Lera
Editor: Caroline Beaton
Photo: Elephant archives