Saturday, August 20, 2011

Drive By Mindfulness

My friend Ann has done a lot of traveling this summer--a week at the lake, a bike tour in Italy, a trip to Colorado. Now that she's home, she's having major repairs done to her house.

And her garden? "I do drive-by weeding," she says. "If i walk by a flower bed and see a weed, i pull it. Then i just tuck it under a bush. Due to the construction, i've hardly been out in my backyard at all."

When life gets busy, sometimes all we have time for is drive-by mindfulness. As we walk by our flower bed, we are mindful of walking, of bending over, of pulling a weed.

When we are in the car, we turn off the distraction of music, and, for 5 minutes, note our experience out-loud. "Hearing." "Seeing." "Feeling."
Hearing the sounds of the external world.
Distracted by a thought, we "hear" the internal world.
Bringing ourselves back to the task at hand, we "see" the external world.
The mind wanders away. Visual thinkers "see" the internal world, as they are thinking/hearing the internal world.
Once again, we bring our attention to what we are doing.
"Feeling" the hands on the steering wheel, "feeling" the sensations of sitting, "feeling" the tiny sensations of tension in the body as we drive in traffic.

Continue to label: Hearing. Seeing. Feeling.

In this way we practice drive-by mindfulness. In fact, you could say, we are driving by mindfulness.

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