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Monday, April 8, 2013

Mindful Practice 6

Mindfulness is the process of being in the present moment without judging.  The wandering mind is one of the major obstacles to mindfulness.  It is not the nature of the mind to stay in the present moment 

Judging is the other major obstacle to mindfulness.  "I need to judge in order to compare myself with others so I can stay on top of things - be better - feel superior - look good."  In mindfulness, judging means comparing others to yourself or with someone else.  "Have you seen all of the junk piled up in their house?  I don't see how they can live like that.  I could never let my house be so messy."  "Look at her, she is as big as an elephant.  Doesn't she have any pride in herself?  What a slob."

So, in order to be mindful lay aside the wandering and judging mind.  Although it takes practice and effort to be mindful it is well worth the effort. The practice described below takes only a few minutes.  Do it once a week and a new groove will be layed down in your brain allowing you to get out of the old way of negative thinking.

Go to a mall, any mall, it doesn't make it difference, they are all basically the same.  Go where there is a lot of traffic.  Have a seat on one of the benches or chairs that are usually provided at an intersection where people are coming in and out of stores. Watch people as they pass by.  The task in this practice is to sit for 15 minutes and observe people walking by.  Stay in the moment and don't let your mind wander into the past or the future or into negative thoughts. 

As you watch try not to be judgmental.  If you find yourself thinking: needs, must, got to, should, too, has to, or ought; go back to observing without judging.

For example, if you think: "he needs a hair cut," "she must lose weight", "he has got to get a better pair of shoes", "she should go on a diet", "he is too skinny", "he has to help that child", "I ought to stop thinking this way", "I should be as pretty has she is;" then bring your mind back to observing - not judging.

So, the next time you visit a mall try this exercise.  It is a worthwhile practice that will prove beneficial to your mind, body, and soul.  Most of all, have fun doing it. 

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