Mindfulness is not just something we do when were performing contemplative practice rather it is a way of life. To be useful it must be integrated into everything that we do. It needs to become part of work, relating to others, relaxation, and even driving a car.
Mindfulness is not just a passive state rather it needs to be actively expressed in what we are and what we do. We shouldn’t just sit back and absorb and feel and think that that is being mindful. We must work at actively engaging in our everyday life mindfully. If we’re grocery shopping, experience the sights, sounds and smells of the store and be aware of our movements, how we’re interacting with other shoppers, and even how we’re making choices on what to buy.
This should be done nonjudgmentaly. A particular odor is not good or bad, pleasant of unpleasant. It’s just an experienced odor. Another shopper is not rude for blocking the aisle, but just a human being shopping. Corn flakes is just a breakfast cereal with a certain texture and taste, neither good nor bad.
Mindfulness is actively looking and marveling at the wonder and miracle of our existence. It’s finding joy in the simplest of things, like marveling at a tiny ant carrying a piece of grass, five times its weight, seeing the beauty of sunlight through the trees, or enjoying seeing a smile on another’s face. What can sustain mindfulness more than any amount of effort is finding the happiness that is everywhere around us in in everything we do.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t sometimes use our minds to process information, label and even judge. This is a very important function of mind that helps negotiate life. It is rather to suggest a middle way. Being immersed in thought when appropriate, but being mindful whenever thought is really not needed, which by the way is most of the time.