Mindfulness is doing one thing at a time, focusing on one thing at a time—in the present moment. This sounds so easy, doesn’t it? Yet our minds are not very disciplined and tend to go all over the place, usually running us into worry and distress. Like a monkey chattering as it jumps from branch to branch with no direction in particular.
We can start out by getting dressed in the morning and begin to think about someone we have to meet that day. They owe us money, we don’t really like them anyway, the way they act is so selfish, wow, people are so selfish in general. Look what they are doing to this planet. And my neighbor is a jerk too, partying all night long. Wow, why does all this stuff happen to me, what have I done? Maybe I did something bad in a past life and deserve all this misery. . . .
The simple act of putting on our clothes can diverge into a mental drama that ends in a depressive outlook. But if we are mindful and just pay attention to getting dressed, it is so much more peaceful. Pay attention to the smell of a newly-washed shirt, the texture of the fabric, its color. Appreciate the hands that made it, the hands that brought it to you. Feel how it lies on your skin and be there with each action you perform.
Tame your mind in this way. Always be in the present moment. Don’t let it run all over the place, which is its monkey tendency.
Look at mountain climbers. They wouldn’t dare let their undisciplined minds wander all over the place. If they are thinking about how someone insulted them while climbing the sheer side of a cliff, they may plunge to their deaths. They must be mindful or die.