A dear friend taught the following exercise to me. I found it very helpful to reduce stress, and experience my life more completely and with more satisfaction. I hope you do to.
Being in the now during activity and finding inner peace within it.
Body Time: Try this during a simple task. Choose one that doesn’t require deep concentration such as washing dishes, doing laundry, gardening or house keeping. Do your very best to avoid doing anything unconsciously. Focus on sensory experience and concentrate on what your body is feeling and sensing with complete attention.
For example: Washing dishes
- Feel the faucet and your interaction with it through your arm, hand and fingers as you turn it on.
- Let the water run over your hand, feel it deeply and note all the different sensations as they happen. When washing, notice the sensations, movements, your own approach, the textures, colors and smells as they happen.
- Respect each action by giving it full attention. When lifting a plate, do not think of what is coming next. Practice making each and every movement with total awareness, concentration, and sincere interest.
- When your mind wanders into thoughts of future or past (or the next or previous task), simply bring it back to the present. Don’t think of when you’ll be done or how well you are doing the exercise. Do not think of time at all.
- While setting a plate down, consider the consciousness you do it with. Are you indifferent, bored, irritated or pleased? Try doing it with respect.
- Feel the energy within you that moves the body. Feel your breath, your posture, your feet on the ground, the counter-top you are leaning into, the sponge.
- Is your face relaxed? Are you calm? Are you present? Can you feel your breath?
Begin by practicing this technique with easy things like I have mentioned above. If it feels refreshing or positive keep doing those tasks in this way. Make this a new habit. Then once in a while add a new task. Learn to do that one with total awareness. In time you may find you can do this in all types of situations. This also applies to meditation.
Even now in front of the computer: Close your eyes and feel your body, your posture, your breath, the hands and feet and your body within your clothes. Listen, smell, taste, feel. Notice that you can slow yourself down, then open your eyes and see, without leaving your inner center by remaining aware of what you feel within. It’s like watching from inside, instead if letting your energy surge out toward what you see.
At the center of all activity is a very calm sweetness. We don’t have to create it or wait for it to arrive; but we can find it within at any time, once we know how.