How mindful are you?

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment — and accepting it without judgment.

I’ve been doing a 21 Days of Abundance meditation journey. It involves daily tasks, reflections and a meditation. I’ve meditated before, and I see a hypnotherapist so meditating isn’t new to me. I enjoy it and the feeling of relaxing and turning my focus inward. But after today’s reflection and answering the three questions to reflect on, I realised how terrible I am at being present and attentive in conversation with people.

This is not the first time I’ve been made aware of it. A good friend of mine used to tell me to put my cellphone down whilst she was talking to me — I do now, and if urgent comes up, I’ll ask her for a 2 minute allowance so I can sort the issue out and then I’m back in the moment with her.

During the lockdown, video calls are now the norm for me. There’s a friend I chat to very regularly, almost every day. I noticed last week that whilst on a video call, I would still keep working or browsing Facebook or fidgeting… and then I would mumble a “yes” even though I had hardly absorbed what was said in the conversation. It’s incredibly frustrating having a conversation like that with someone (the someone being me). I would joke about being fidgety, but brushed it off in my own mind as something I could perhaps reconcile with the friend in person.

Today’s reflection questions for the 21 Days of Abundance were as follows:

  1. What does it mean to you to be immersed in pure consciousness?
  2. How can you bring this awareness into your every day life?
  3. How has the practice of meditation helped you connect with your pure consciousness?

My biggest observation of myself whilst answering these questions was that I haven’t been as mindful as I thought during my previous meditations and that I really need to step up and hear people when they’re speaking to me. They’re giving me their time, and it’s a slap in the face if I’m just getting distracted.

I shared this with the above friend from our video calls, and said that that it’s something I really need to work on to be more present during our video calls. Her reply was “I’d appreciate that, thank you”. I only realised then, that it had affected them too and I didn’t even notice that it was something that bugged them.

Without sounding like I’m making excuses, I do find it trickier to be more present when the person is not within physical touching distance or space. Regardless, it’s something I’m now challenging myself to do so that I can be more mindful, present and attentive during conversation.

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

I learnt this morning, after the reflection and meditation that I seemed to have distanced myself from the things I enjoy doing, and many of those things are just enjoying the simple things in life. I used to love listening to the noises outside, enjoying the breeze on a hot day, feeling the sun against my skin on the chilly days, admiring the sunsets and sunrises. The little things always put a smile on my face and just allowed me to enjoy that moment. I need to go back to doing that.

Mindfulness and simply being present can positively impact your well-being, physical health and mental health.

Perhaps, when you catch your mind wandering whilst you’re doing something, bring yourself back to the moment and enjoy it for what it is. The small moments become the big moments when we learn to appreciate the little pieces of beauty around us.

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