Some Mindful Exercises

Mindful Driving
Bring mindful attention to driving. Notice all the body movements, car movements, sounds, habit patterns, and thoughts involved in driving. (If you do not drive a car, you can bring attention to riding a bike or being a passenger in a car, bus, or train.

Final Word: True transformation is difficult. It begins with small changes, changes in how we breathe, eat, walk, and drive.

One Bite at a Time
This is a mindfulness practice to do whenever you are eating. After you take a bite, put the spoon or fork back down in the bowl or on the plate. Place your awareness in your mouth until that one bite has been enjoyed and swallowed. Only then pick up the utensil and take another bite. If you are eating with your hands, put the sandwich, apple, or cookie down between bites.

Final Word: There can be no party in the mouth if the mind is not invited to attend.

The Telephone Rings
Each time you hear a telephone ring, chime, or buzz, stop what you are doing and take three mindful breaths to settle the mind before answering. (If you are a receptionist, you may need to shorten this to one or two breaths. The point is to pause and take at least one deep, cleaning breath before answering the call of the bell).

If you get very few calls a day on your telephone, set an alarm to ring several times a day using a long but unusual interval, such as every fifty-three minutes. When the alarm rings, stop and breath.

Final Words: Taking three breaths when the phone rings is like a time-out for adults. It’s a pause that refreshes.

The Bottoms of Your Feet
As often as possible during the day, place your awareness in the bottoms of your feet. Become aware of the sensations on the bottoms of the feet such as the pressure of the floor or ground beneath the feet, or the warmth or coolness of the feet. It is particularly important to do so whenever you notice yourself becoming anxious or upset.

Final Word: Placing your awareness in the bottoms of your feet will lead to mental stability and emotional serenity, if you practice it diligently.

The Color Blue
Become aware of the color blue whenever it appears in your environment. Look not just for the obvious instances, such as the sky, but also for subtle appearances and for all variations of blue.

Final Words: We can break out of the dark and narrow prison of sell-absorbed mind and find freedom in the luminous sky mind.

Jan Chozen Bays, How to Train a Wild Elephant (p. 99-107)

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