How to use our 5 senses to practice on-the-go mindfulness exercises
The practice of mindfulness meditation, regardless its quality, is cumulative as far its beneficial effects tat is how we perceive life and its content, how to experience the reality of the moment and how we are able to control our mind. Hoe often is more important than how.
The more we practice the better, regardless the quality and duration of our meditation are.
This is difficult to accept since we have learned, thru our Western education, that the more we practice on something the better we become at it.
The quality of our sitting is and will never be perfect even among the Masters simply because the mindis very powerful to escape from the focusing object that we are imposing on him.
Judging the quality of our mediation means quitting sooner or later.
Beside weekly formal sitting and walking meditation, what can we do to increase the frequency of our mindfulness-based meditation practice?
Before going thru few examples, I would like to remind you of the 3 main functions of our mind/brain.
1) Acting as a receiver of our immediate environment.
Using its 5 senses acting as “radars”, our mind/brain is acting as a vey sensitive and powerful receiver of the external world. He is collecting instantly, consciously or nor, zillions of data.
Then he will t transform them into electric-chemical signals which will be computerized so we an see, hear, smell, touch and taste. Based on the process, we are able to analyze, act and experience reality of the moment. As far neuro research is concerned, we still have no clue why we can see colors whereas it is black inside, nor sounds when it is silence.
2) Acting as the maker, manager and monitor of our 100 trillions cells in 78 organs 24/7
3) Acting as a mental factory with 2 main functions:
Cognitive: producing around 90,000 thoughts /day for analysis, deduction, judgment, decision, memory, expectation, etc...
Emotional: contrary to our rational mind/brain, our emotional one always reacts immediately, around 100 times faster, in milliseconds.
Using one of our 5 senses is an excellent practical tool to practice mindfulness during the day because our mind/brain is extremely sensitive to its sensorial outputs, which will take priority if you decide to use one of them
You may pick seeing, hearing, touching, tasting or smelling.
Depending of the circumstances you can also:
Keep the same “receptor” or alternate with others during the same day.
Duration may vary from less than 1 min. to several.
These sensorial focus points are infinite. Here are few examples:
Seeing: paying attention to one color i.e. sky, clouds, the green of trees, the motion of the wind, etc
Hearing: silence, birds, cars, wind, rain, your steps, music, your tooth brush etc...
Touching: the ground when walking, touching your skin, a page of a book, etc...
Smelling: the air, the food, grass, etc.
Tasting: drink, food, etc.
It is important to practice in a mindful way that is just paying attention to your chosen focus w/o being trapped in some sort of analytic process of your target.
Despite its enormous power of zillions bits, the mind/brain cannot deal with 2 thoughts at the same time. We don’t know why.
When you focus, for example, on the sound of the train on the tracks or on the taste of an apple, or the sound of the wind or the orange color of the sky at sun set, just do that andyour mind/brain cannot do other thing but to obey you that is to focus on what we are asking him to do. This is key to achieve awakening, one thought at a time on concrete reality.