20th July 2016 Daily Mindfulness There are many ways to practice daily mindfulness. A popular method is to mindfully complete routine tasks that you would otherwise do automatically. Some people choose to anchor their practice to a specific activity such as brushing their teeth, as a reminder to invite mindfulness into the experience. Imagine if you paid attention to how you hold your toothbrush, the feel of the handle in your hand and how the toothpaste tastes. Note the sensations of the brush against your teeth, the associated sounds and rhythm of the brush as you move it up and down, the introduction of water as you swish it around the inside of your mouth and the feeling inside your mouth as it is rinsed clean. Your mindful tooth-brushing session brings you into the present moment, which fulfils the first characteristic of mindfulness. The second characteristic of a mindfulness practice is to be present without judgement; you can note any judgements that arise and let them go by returning your attention to the sensations associated with brushing your teeth. In this way, you would have just brushed your teeth and succeeded in bringing more mindfulness into your day. Sensations are experienced in the present. When we base a mindfulness session around sensations we become more aware of the present moment and what is going on around us. Routine tasks are an ideal opportunity to assess how judgemental or self-critical we are being and to choose more loving thoughts towards ourselves and others. I am reminded of my cat and how she licks herself clean after each meal. She pays full attention to each little detail yet is aware of what is going on around her. There is nothing small about her task; she completes it as though it were the most sublime of experiences. A mindful experiment Choose a daily routine task and make a decision to do it mindfully for one week, paying particular attention to the sensations involved. When you complete the task allow your state of mindfulness to flow into the next moment without making it an exercise, rather than ending your session abruptly.