Dying Daily #7: Mindfulness Monday

Let’s call this Mindful Monday. It sounds like something a blog should do.

Monday gets a bad rap. Everyone hates Monday because they feel forced to go back to work to earn more money to actually live on. It is a good day to make jokes like “not long enough” when someone asks you how your weekend was. It is a good day to start looking forward to getting home later that evening, or to Friday or to your next vacation or to retirement, or to death. Whatever you’re into.

But, what if the problem isn’t with Monday, but has more to do with our perception of it? What if our perspective is what causes us to suffer rather than the day itself?

Mindfulness is a current (and thankfully, fading) fad, but it is also one of the most useful things I have found in life. At its core, it is simply cultivating a nonjudgmental awareness of what is going on around you. It is about learning to step beyond the concepts and prejudices and opinions we carry about everyone and everything around us, and trying to look at things as they are. Mindfulness is about acceptance. I would say it is about taking it a step further and embracing things exactly as they are. It is the single thing that has brought me to a place of peace and contentment in my life. I still work hard and have a lot of things I want to do and get done, but I am not in a frenzy and I love every moment.

Let’s try a few things today, simple exercises that might make all of this a little easier.

Notice the weather today, but without a judgment of it as good or bad. What does the temperature feel like on your skin? What does it smell like outside? Think about how many other people are experiencing the same weather as you, but have different perspectives on it based on their preferences, plans, and memories. Notice the difference between the weather itself and the stories your mind is telling you about it.

While at work (yeah, yeah, I am assuming you have to work today) notice the sounds around you without judgment. Pay attention to the stories your mind tells you about your tasks, your co-workers, what time it is and other things. Notice how you do not have to buy into these stories.

Whatever you are doing, do it well and do it with 100% of your attention. When you notice that your mind has wandered, just come back to what you were doing – never judging, never criticizing.

If you don’t have to work today, you can still pay attention to these things because our mind never ceases to tell us stories.  Our job is to be aware that they are just stories.