In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention.
Gratefulness has three steps: not missing the opportunity, appreciating the opportunity, and using or enjoying the opportunity.
It’s such a liberating phrase – ‘just for now’. We don’t say to ourselves often enough – ‘just for now, this is what I’m doing. Just for now, it is enough.’
In meditation and Tai Chi, we often talk about using a soft gaze. This means that rather than intently staring at something, we open our gaze to include the full visual field.
We’re probably all familiar with this scenario – we tell ourselves ‘from now on, I will be more mindful’/’eat more mindfully’/’do the dishes with mindfulness’/’take time to smell the roses’. And then, before we know it, we’re caught up in the flow of a busy day, forgetting all about our intention to be mindful!
‘We have a tendency to think in terms of doing and not in terms of being. We think that when we’re not doing anything, we’re wasting our time. But that’s not true.’
One of my favourite times, when I am away at a residential retreat, is the early morning meditation.
When we become more mindful and slow down, we have more opportunities to notice ways in which we can nurture life – and each one of these can have ripple effects for years to come, as the gift of a salvia cutting by my friend has done.
‘Attention without feeling, I began to learn, is only a report. An openness — an empathy — was necessary if the attention was to matter.’ Mary Oliver
‘Presence is the bare awareness of the receptive spaciousness of our mind.’ Daniel Siegel, The Mindful Brain