Mindful Awareness to the Test

Update: For anyone interested I am now also on Instagram @lyndawow.

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Since greater isolation is part of the pandemic parameters anyway, as I said in a post a month ago before I got a little sidetracked, I decided to extend mindfulness beyond my daily meditation practice to the numerous tasks and activities in any given day. I plan to be more deliberate and more conscious of moments I might otherwise overlook or float through on autopilot.

It is said that individuals breathe about 23,000 times a day and normally are quite unaware of the process. A mindfulness practice changes that by paying attention to the breath—inhalation of air into the nose, its passage down the throat, into the lungs, and the flow of oxygen as it’s pumped through the blood to the cellular level. That focus continues with the out breath. Subsequently each time attention is caught by a thought the practitioner chooses not to indulge it but brings attention back to the breath. Gradually that awareness on the breath is expanded to encompass perception of whatever sounds, smells, tastes, or sensations can be perceived in that moment.

Once the mindfulness practice is over, people commonly revert to less heightened states of awareness. However, that’s what I wish to manipulate differently going forward. I want to practice greater mindfulness as I carry out the usual mundane activities which make up a day. Is it possible to sustain that?

Another question is: What exactly does that entail? As an example, let’s use a heightened awareness of this moment. As I keyboard I pay deliberate attention to the sound of the laptop keys quietly clicking in random rhythms and my fingers as they reach across the rows. I remain aware of the different sounds made by my fingernails, the pads of my fingers, and the heels of my hands as they slide across the smooth plastic.

I then give similar consideration to the tactile sensations of my hands and wrists as I continue to expand the awareness to all sensory input I can register; whereas, normally I would not consciously attend to anything but the words and typos as they step forward across the screen. Obviously, that’s a very different way of being in the world.

I’m curious. Spiritual teacher Barb Schmidt maintains that our ordinary life is our spiritual life. I’m about to put that to the test. How long will it be possible to sustain a mindful state?  Also, is there any point in doing so? Will I discover anything significant during the exercise? We’ll see.

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Keyboard photo and clip art used with permission.

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