This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I made a point to be mindful.
Mindfulness, for the uninitiated, is a state of awareness. Instead of letting your mind zip all around you, running ahead to the rest of your day and dwelling on what you did yesterday, the goal is to focus on the current moment: To be present in the present.
As the Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh says, don’t wash the dishes to get them clean; wash the dishes to wash the dishes.
It’s not easy, especially for someone like me who has a monkey mind (that’s to say that mine must be among the wildest, hard-to-tame minds on the planet!). And it took a lot of work. For instance, as I got ready to leave the house this morning, I had walked out the door and locked it when I realized I forgot to do something inside. Instead of getting even mildly bent out of shape, I watched the feeling of frustration come up, and then I watched it dissolve as I realized that it would only take a minute to go back inside.
(I know this all sounds very New Age, but it’s been around for at least 2,500 years.)
What a difference it made in my morning! Each moment, I tried to be aware of what was happening in that moment. Your senses are heightened to the feeling of the subway car swaying under your feet and to the way your coat feels on your shoulders.
Exiting the Farragut North Metro was almost blissful – the foliage, getting thinner by the day, set against a cool gray morning with a fresh, albeit chilly, wind funneling through the high-rises that line K Street.
If you’re interested in reading more about mindfulness, check today’s Daily OM.