Hey! Snap out of it. Are you paying attention or are you mindlessly skimming this magazine while your mind is really elsewhere? Can you bring your full attention to these printed words? Chances are, you can’t. This is less a comment about you than an observation of the fact that we live in a culture that tends to neglect the present moment. Most of us are so accustomed to racing through our lives on autopilot that we are rarely able to attend to what is actually happening in the here and now.
Despite the ever-expanding evidence base for the benefits of mindfulness practice, we nevertheless struggle to pry ourselves away from our incessant internal monologue and take time to smell the proverbial roses. The need to constantly remind ourselves to be present is baked into the meaning of the word mindfulness, an approximate translation of the Pali word sati, which carries a connotation of “recollection” – not in the sense of recalling past events, but in the sense of remembering to pay attention to one’s immediate experience as opposed to being lost in thought.
Well, as they say, there is no time like the present. Why not give it a shot?
Yes, right now. If you have read this far, you clearly have nothing better to do. There is no need to buy a special pillow, sit in a particular position or adopt a facial expression that hints at a deep and abiding serenity. In fact, you need not make any particular effort at all. For the next minute, simply leave your mind wide open to whatever sensations or thoughts happen to arise in each moment. Just sit back and enjoy the show!