Think about the things you do every day. Most of them we do without thinking about them. We do them automatically such as brushing our teeth, washing dishes, making our beds, eating, sleeping…the list is endless. Now think about the things you really pay attention to in your day. For each of us it will be different. For me these things include spending time with my daughter, taking a good walk, observing nature, reading before I go to sleep every night, and now…writing my daily slice.
I am not a participant in any organized religion. The closest I come to spirituality is to believe in what I call The Church of Nature. For me, this practice involves being out in the natural world, experiencing whatever phenomena are happening that day and deeply appreciating all the wonders of the world, big and small. (I wrote about this in a previous blog.) On my journey through life I have collected, consciously and sometimes unconsciously bits of wisdom from various sources that have helped me develop my own spiritual practice, the newest among them being the practice of “mindfulness.”
What is mindfulness? I turned to a book on my shelf entitled, Awakening the Buddhist Heart, for a definition to share with you. I am not a Buddhist, but I do find many of the Buddhist practices help me to see my life from a different perspective. Although I have known about mindfulness for some time since I first learned about the benefits of meditation, I think I have now arrived at a deeper understanding of it through the daily writing we have all been doing.
According to Lama Sura Das, the author of the above-mentioned book “The single greatest tool that we can all access to hep us connect to our true lives is paying attention, or the cultivation of conscious awareness, which Buddhists call ‘mindfulness.’ Mindfulness is how we connect to the reality of ‘what is.’ When we are fully mindful, we are better able to see the reality of any situation. This is called clear vision. When we are mindful, we have greater mastery over our own lives. When we are mindful, we find greater joy in the small moment-by-moment pleasures of life; we are more fully present, less absentminded. We can savor life and plumb deeper into its depths rather than merely wading in the shallows.”
I am not at all suggesting that everyone become Buddhist. But in the past 15 days I have realized that the daily practice of paying attention to something that is happening each day in one’s life is a kind of meditation, or mindfulness. It has helped me enormously by lifting me from the depression I was left with following cancer treatment and trying to reintegrate into a more joyful life. It has allowed me to focus on what is happening right now, today, rather than what has happened or might happen. Doing so has helped me to feel real happiness in my life again
So thank you, slicers, for being mindful by paying attention each day and writing about moments of your own life, and responding to others who are sharing their slices of life. Being part of this writing community has helped me to become more mindful and enjoy life again.