Friday, February 26, 2010

What a Ride!

I have fond memories of my initial "taste" of mindfulness. I was literally introduced to the joy of eating an orange in a mindful manner. I thought of all the oranges I had consumed over the years, and not once had I considered how the orange skin felt as I peeled it or how it popped and shot juice throughout my mouth as I bit into it. After that one experience I certainly wanted to learn more.

As I read Thich Nhat Hanh describing how he would choose a day each week to be immersed in mindfulness, I was captivated with figuring out how to make that happen in my life. It didn't take me long to realize that all I needed was the commitment to actually do it! My biggest obstacle was reigning in my need to control. Maybe because this was my maiden voyage into a new realm of discovery, or maybe because I was always more comfortable when I felt in control. For whatever reason, I went into overdrive in getting my mind solidly in control of the whole situation. I even went so far as to consider which day of the week would work best into my schedule...STOP! Okay, it took me some time before I finally realized that control was in no way needed.

The very next day I set off on my day of exploration into mindfulness. I was astonished with the time it took to merely get out of bed and brush my many textures to feel, so many sounds to hear, so many tastes to experience, and that's just brushing my teeth! I was really getting into this intensified sense of awareness...even making out my grocery shopping list gave me an opportunity to feel the consistency of the pen against my skin as well as the sensation as the tip of the pen began gliding smoothly across the surface of the paper. I was so caught up in this new experience that I almost forgot about the list I was writing. And that is exactly the one challenge I had with mindfulness immersion...staying focused on the task that needed to be completed.

As I climbed into the car to drive to the grocery store, my senses were alive with an attentive awareness that was intoxicating. I smile with the memory of me sitting alone in the garage in my car, filled with the sensations of my body sliding into the seat, retrieving my keys from my purse, placing the key into the ignition...the soft coolness of the leather seat, the rattling of the keys along with the hard metallic feel of each key. By the time I finally backed the car into the street, this heightened attentiveness of me in the world brought a fullness to my whole being. In fact, I was so consumed with savoring each part of this fullness that I was four blocks past the grocery store before I even realized it! Now that was a ride!

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