Being mindful in daily life is the point of a daily meditation practice! This month join us as we explore the many ways we bring our practice off the cushion into our relationships, our work, and even the ordinary activities of daily life.
My first meditation teacher, Eknath Easwaran, taught an 8-point program where one of the eight points was bringing one minded attention to simple everyday activities.This was later cultivated through DBT skills training, known as one-minded attention and over the years I have shared this skill with hundreds of clients in our psychotherapy practice.
What is one-pointed or one-minded attention? It is simple and yet difficult at times, especially when we have been conditioned to live a life of multi-tasking. It means placing full attention on the present moment and if engaging in an activity such as walking, it means being present with the activity of walking. All attention is placed on the body walking, the sensations, the surface, the body moving through space. Bringing mindful attention to walking, eating, cleaning, driving, listening, cooking, and on and on.
The practice of one-minded attention can be cultivated through setting the intention to bring mindfulness to whatever we are doing in the present moment. A special challenge can be to bring it to things that we often do on “autopilot”, or we dislike doing. I have been practicing this for the past 20 years and have discovered the joy that exists in simple things and truth be told- transformed some of my less than favorable habits and changed my relationship to things that I once avoided at all costs.
My mother would be shocked to read this and learn that I have spent years now practicing doing dishes with one-minded attention. As a child, I would disappear into the bathroom for a LONGTIME to avoid doing dishes and had a serious aversion to touching dirty dishes. My mother would joke that I would get a lifetime supply of paper plates as wedding gifts because she was sure I would never use dishes. Bringing mindfulness to doing dishes conditioned me to enjoy this time and even enjoy doing it in solitude, just like a meditation.
Between mindfulness training and giving birth to an avid environmentalist I no longer use paper plates or single use items and have learned to conserve water as I scrub the dishes. This is all an unexpected change that came about through setting a simple intention to bring mindfulness to doing the dishes over several years- yes that is correct, “SEVERAL YEARS”. It was not an overnight change and yet, if you ask my mom, it was deemed impossible at one time in my early life.
I have so many other stories to share on how this simple, yet challenging skill, can transform your relationship with everyday life and even turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
If you are on facebook please join our Facebook group above and see more about practicing mindfulness in daily life. Share your experiences with our community of like-minded individuals and stay tuned for more tips this month.
With Love and Gratitude,
Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty
Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at email@example.com to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.
Go to www.sacredtreehouse.org
Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches. Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.