Practicing Mindfulness: Lessons from a Hound Dog
My husband is currently teaching a class on Mindfulness. Truthfully, though I hear him talk about the subject frequently and have a basic understanding of what mindfulness is, I have not been practicing it. Not well anyway. So this month when my husband began preparing to lead his class, I started picking the book he’s using up off the bedside table and reading along. And I gotta tell you it’s good stuff to read, hard to practice. The first exercise Mindfulness: An eight week plan for finding peace in a frantic world had me do was to eat a raisin. But I wasn’t just supposed to eat the raisin, I was supposed to hold, see, feel, and taste the raisin. I was supposed to notice everything about the experience of eating a raisin. This was actually pretty easy to do cause raisins are pretty funny looking yet taste really good. I also did this in the presence of my kids who thought it was hilarious and came up with a million gross things raisins remind them of. But when I moved on to the second practice of actually paying attention to the process of brushing my teeth, I was toast. I’d get about 10 seconds into the habit of brushing when my mind would flit to what had happened earlier in the day and then I’d remember, “Oh crap, I’m supposed to notice what it actually is like to brush my teeth.” I was aware briefly of the foaminess of the toothpaste and then bam, I was down a wormhole of distraction again thinking about all the things I needed to take care of the next day. And that is basically the point of mindfulness. We live most of our lives distracted and unaware of what is actually happening around us. We miss so much.