Mindfulness is *hard*!

I found this verbal doodle whilst culling forgotten drafts posts over the weekend.  I wrote it, and posted it as a comment, just over two years ago, in March 2009, in response to this post on Stacey’s blog.  I think I intended to expand the original comment into a blog entry, but I clearly never did.  I enjoyed reading it again when I found it – so maybe others will, too.

Incidentally, I’d forgotten all about my attempts to maintain mindfulness.  I think it’s something I should get back to.

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Recently, I’ve been attempting to practise mindfulness/attentiveness on a daily basis.  It’s hard!  And utterly revelatory, too.  Rather than stomping along, firmly plugged into the other world of my iPod, I’ve been trying to see what is next to my feet, hear what is going on in the ‘real space’ around me whilst on my lunchtime walks, or in the morning with the hounds.

To see with the intensity of a child’s vision; to hear with the clarity of one just awoken; noticing the detail in the utterly mundane as if you’ve never seen it before.  The concentration required to do this is immense!  I can hardly maintain it for more than a minute or so before my mind wanders off: the conversation that could have gone better this morning; the unfeasible deadline; plans for dinner.

But when I do maintain it, oh boy!

I’ve been noticing patterns in tarmac, in walls, in wooden fences.  Smells of the earth, sounds of birds.  Great bursts of joy on seeing a blackthorn starting to bloom.  And all this just on the fringes of a business park!

I’ve been experiencing the most intense flashbacks to childhood moments; possibly the last time in my life I allowed myself to just experience.  Not examine, or evaluate, or judge.  Subsuming the scientist, and remaining unselfconscious, has been a real exercise, along the lines of “don’t think of a pink rhinoceros”.

But not only have I enjoyed it, I think it is good for me on a more practical level.  No longer do I fight to remember whether I’ve shut the windows/locked the doors/filled the water bowl/sorted the house out/picked up my lunch, keys, phone, wallet when I leave the house in the morning; I’m already aware that I’ve done it.  Well, maybe I’m not quite there yet, but that list feels cleaner, less cluttered, and consequently shorter in my head.  And I’m sure this practice is the cause.

2 comments


  • sounds interesting – I hope you do get back to it!

    18th April 2011
  • Hard but fantastic! I used to really struggle with distraction/ couldn’t stop trying to focus on six things at once. Love that you’re finding childhood memories now…

    25th April 2011

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