Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. ~ The Buddha
To Be literally means to exist in the present.
To be Present means existing or occurring now.
One of the simplest things to do, and one of the simplest actions in life is to notice one’s surroundings, yet we spend most of our lives oblivious, inside our heads, lost in thought.
Mindfulness, which, among other things, is an attentive awareness of the reality of things (especially of the present moment) is an antidote to delusion and is considered as such a ‘power’… ~ WikiPedia
Mindfulness is Key to Peace. To slow down and be mindful – carefully observing the present moment of now… Absorbing what is happening without thinking, without labeling or judging.
Truly observing and absorbing what is…
You can do this anytime, while walking, eating, washing the dishes, or watching your thoughts float by as clouds in the sky.
Osho prefers to call it Witnessing and he says it is the only true meditation:
I have tried all the methods [of meditation] and the most surprising experience was that the basic thing in each of the methods is witnessing.
Their strategies differ, but their soul is just witnessing.
So I have reduced the one hundred and twelve methods of Shiva into a single method. I am giving you the essential method which no meditation can afford to drop – it is the most essential.
You can add any other structure to it, but I have dropped the whole structure.
I am giving you the very soul of meditation.
You just try, give it a chance. And if I can succeed, I don′t see why you cannot succeed. ~ Osho ~ Witnessing: The Only Meditation
So remember, thinking has to be stopped not through chanting [a Mantra], but through becoming a witness to the thought process – looking at it, watching it… a watcher on the hills, looking, seeing…
Meditation. Witnessing. Silently sitting and looking at the mind, will be of much help.
Not forcing, simply sitting and looking. Not doing much, just watching as one watches birds flying in the sky. Just lying down on the ground and watching… nothing to do… indifferent…
Not your concern really, where they are going; they are going on their own.
Remember, thoughts are just like birds: they are moving on their own. ~ Osho ~ Comments on Hsin Hsin Ming: The Book of Nothing.
I like the way Osho explains things in such a simple, but exact way.
To him, Witnessing is Meditation and when you practice witnessing correctly, you arrive at a meditative state.
To Osho, meditation is both the practice and the state of mind. He talks about practicing meditation (the technique) and also talks about being in meditation.
Being in meditation is being the witness.
And how do you know you’re in meditation?
To me, it’s a change in the quality of the perception. When I’m in meditation, everything looks sharper. Colors look more vivid than when I’m looking through the veil of my mind, and this may sound like a cliché, but things really do look beautiful – and I mean everything looks beautiful, even things that you wouldn’t consider to be beautiful, like the cracks on the sidewalk, or the bark of a tree. Nothing really special. The thing may not look beautiful to you, but it is so to my eyes.
I also notice sounds that I wouldn’t catch if I was lost in my head. I hear the sound of my breath clearly and it gives me a sense of peace. Just listening to the sound of my breath makes me peaceful – for no apparent reason…
Things look more 3-D when the mind’s veil is not there clouding perception. Nature looks more alive, but so do “inanimate objects” like rocks and twigs. Everything seems alive. Everything has a kind of “invisible glow.” Invisible, because I don’t perceive it through my physical eyes, but I can tell it’s there.
I’m not at a point where I can easily induce this meditative state, but it happens often enough. Especially when I don’t let the stresses of daily survival carry me away into my mind. When I remember to do one of the exercises or techniques I will describe to you now.
They are simple techniques, but they are also quite effective.
What’s happening now?
The simplest tool I use to snap myself out of a stream of thought is to ask myself, What’s happening now?
This simple, but powerful question never fails to snap me right out of my mind and into what is really happening right now. I can repeat it as often as I like and it works each and every time.
Next time you feel that you can’t stop worrying about something or you’re dragged into a thought-stream that won’t let you go, try asking yourself, What’s happening now? and I bet that it will snap you right out of your mind.
The reason it works is because no thought is happening now.
All thoughts are in the past or future. They cannot be now, because now is timeless, thoughtless… Now is Pure Perception without any judgement. Pure Consciousness without the veil.
It can be fleeting at first, but with time, the thoughtless periods get longer and longer, and this very simple question can easily snap you out of your head long enough to lift the veil, even if only for bits at a time, until you’re in meditation more frequently and for longer periods of time.
Watch what you’re doing
This is a great complement to the What’s happening now? technique and it is simply what it says: Really look at something.
Watch what you’re doing.
Handle something and really look at it. If you’re tying your shoes, don’t do it mindlessly. Look at what you’re doing. Observe your fingers as they handle the shoe strings, feel their sense of touch and look at how you’re doing it. Don’t let an automatic mental program do it for you while you ponder some other thought… Really do it yourself – 100% consciously.
Eat a strawberry and look at it before you bite into it. Smell it, feel it – really observe it before you bite into it.
After you bite into it, savor it. Feel its texture with your tongue, look at the different colors outside, inside… Enjoy the beauty of this wonderful gift of a fruit by taking your time and really experience it completely as you take each slow bite.
Too often we wolf things down and hardly even notice what we just ate.
The key here is really looking at things, because when you look intently at something, your judgmental mind steps back as you experience the thing first hand.
Something about truly looking at that strawberry brings you to the timeless moment of now where thoughts are no longer involved.
Observe everything for 10 minutes at a time and you’ll cultivate Mindfulness in everyday living. You’ll get into the Meditative State much faster and easier just by doing this simple exercise.
This technique is much more powerful than it seems, but you probably won’t notice this until you practice it for a bit, so don’t underestimate it.
Take a slow walk anywhere, but do it with full awareness of what you’re doing.
Be mindful of every step. Notice the action of lifting the foot and placing it back on the ground.
Feel the tactile sensation of each footstep.
Notice the skin under your feet, the pressure of the earth on the sole of your foot – on its muscles and bones.
Look down at your feet and watch the earth move under you as you walk slowly. Notice how right under your body, is the Present Moment of Now, right in front of you, you are looking into the future and behind you, the past – where you were just a moment ago.
Moving slowly and looking straight down – carefully noticing every little detail of what is happening as it is happening – will give you a clear sense of now.
You’ll have no worries about what lies ahead, no care about where you came from, just a clear notion of what you’re doing in the timeless, thoughtless moment of now.
Simple and sweet…
I will share two more Mindfulness Techniques but each one of these deserve a full post of their own. These are:
Nine Deep Breaths (The 9 to 1 Technique) and Two-Pointing.