The Buddhists consider mindfulness meditation being the first step on the journey for enlightenment. Mindfulness can be described as being totally aware of here and now. You are totally divorced from your past and future. Your entire focus is what you are now, and nothing else matters
Mindfulness meditation is an art by itself and needs a certain amount of physical and mental preparation. However, mindfulness exercises are simple and will turn any simple activity into complete fun. These exercises can be done anywhere and at any time. The purpose is to bring you closer to enhanced awareness of yourself and your surroundings.
Eating is one of the most common activities we take. But tell me how often we really notice the food we are eating or how it was different from the one we ate last time. So your first exercise is Mindfulness Eating. When you sit down to eat, stop every thing else. Switch off your cell phone, TV and radio. Put the newspaper aside or any book you were reading. Now get down to the business of eating.
Just look at the food and try to imagine how it was grown and prepared. Feel the toil of the farmer as he ploughed his field. Feel the warmth of the sun on the plant. Imagine how the roots reached out to suck the life giving water. The harvest time and its journey to your table. How it looked on the plant and how it looks on your table?
Appreciate the work which has gone into the entire process. Observe the texture of the food. Try to list the condiments and seasonings which have been used. Did the cook use a little more nutmeg than was necessary? Chew your food deliberately and you will be amazed to notice the things which you never had earlier.
Try to notice how your food smells. Your olfactory memory can connect you to distant events in your past in a flash. Does it remind you of your mother’s cooking? The smell of food may remind you of the time when you sat in the breakfast nook in winters and did your homework under the light of the big brass lamp. The thoughts which the food evokes in you are not important. What is important is that you are taking notice of the food which you are eating and connecting to a distant event through this experience.
Once you eat a complete meal in this fashion, you will realize how much satisfaction you have deprived yourself over the years. Eating mindfully is only one of the exercises which you can undertake as an experiment. But I am certain that very soon you will be willingly adopting the mindful eating as a norm rather than an exception.
Try to apply this experience in other spheres of life. Multi tasking has become the bane of our times. We are always trying to do more than one thing at a time. We do not realize the damage we are doing to our nervous system by paying attention to so many things at a time. Start doing mindfulness exercises for various activities in your daily life and see the difference for yourself.