Mindfulness in the waiting room
Mindfulness is about being fully aware in the present moment. Sometimes we set aside time for this — attend a session, create quiet time, go for a walk.
Other times it happens regardless of our lives happening around us — noticing our breathing while loading the clothes washer, looking into our dog’s eyes as we rub under her ears, stopping in our tracks to witness an especially spectacular sunrise.
The more aware of becoming aware, we begin to react less and respond more.
Simply noticing our thoughts and allowing them just as they are, with no attachment to them and nothing to fix.
Being a peaceful observer. Of our own minds.
And oh, do we get plenty of chances to practice. Whether we set aside time for them or not.
The other day I was reading while waiting for my car’s oil change. A very lovely woman of my same generation was also in the waiting area, catching up on her extensive video social media. At. Full. Volume.
The book I was reading? It was about mindfulness. Oh, the irony.
My first thought? Yep–a big, huge, Are you kidding me?!? Use headphones, for crying out loud!!! (reaction)
And then, I decided to practice. (response)
I took a deep breath, and settled deeper into my chair. I simply noticed the loud, personal, vulgar-language sounds from the recorded posts. I just observed my thoughts of judging this person’s obliviousness to others, recognizing my inner tension of feeling indignant. I simply sat with what all that felt like in my body and where I was feeling it.
Focusing on just sitting, and observing my thoughts, I got curious about them. And the whole thing just became interesting, and also spectacularly funny.
I was aware of being in it while in it. Which was immensely cool. And incredibly helpful. Becoming fully aware, the unpleasant situation became just a Thing. And then No Thing at all. And I felt great. (Of course, and thank you.)
So why did I immediately recognize the auto shop waiting area scenario as a mindfulness practice opportunity, yet totally missed the previous evening’s bickering with the love of my life as such?
That’s okay. Mindfulness is an ongoing process. I’ll have plenty of chances to practice.
Now on to you: When do you notice that you are present? When do you look back and see that you were not? Do you practice being an observer? When do you recognize this awareness? When does it seem to elude you? What benefits do you feel you’d receive with a greater sense of present-moment awareness?