• Jenny Bell

Mindful Moments

#meditation #mindfulparenting #busy #mindfulness #presence #buddhism

You are not a monk nor are you aiming to be a guru. You are a person trying to lead a better life. You do not have to do it all to be mindful.

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Zen Buddhist monk and one of the leading authorities on mindfulness, in my opinion. Thich Nhat Hanh has often written and spoken about "inviting the bell." In his monasteries, they ring a bell regularly as a reminder to come back to the present moment. Mindfulness at its core is really about being present in the here and now. It is a practice.

You do not have to do yoga, meditate, read tons of books or be a monk to lead a mindful life. You simply have to invite the bell.

There are many ways to invite the bell into your busy life. It can be a literal bell or alarm that you set on your phone, computer or watch that signals to you to stop whatever you are doing, take a deep breath and come back to the present moment. This is a time for you to check into your body. You can even do a gentle body scan from head to toe seeing if you need to eat, drink or take a stretch. But you don't have to set an alarm, you can simply come up with set times or moments of the day where you come back to the present. When a loved one begins to talk to you can be the signal, before you step out of the car can be a signal, during a shower can be a signal.

Mindfulness is truly a way of life and a practice. It is not something you can master and move on from. It is not something you can pay for or even hold onto. It is a practice of training the mind to be in the here and now while quieting the ego. People can give advice and offer guidance but in the end you must find what works for you. At this stage of your life, you may not be able to dedicate time for a meditation or yoga practice but you can come back to your breath no matter where you are, who you are with or what you are doing. While doing the dishes, you can ask yourself what if this was a meditation? While sitting in traffic or listening to your child through a tantrum, ask yourself what if these moments were a meditation? How can you approach these moments as meditations? These questions lead you into a different place in your mind. They cause a pause and a moment where you stop whatever thoughts were freely flowing in your mind to focus on slowing down, tuning in and breathing--allowing yourself to come to the present moment in your body.

The mind naturally likes to live in the past or the future. Mindfulness practice is about being here and now.

Take a deep breath now.

Notice where you are: the colors, the sounds, the temperature, etc.

Now bring it back to your body, how are you feeling?

That is it, that is how we practice a mindful moment.

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