Bells Of Mindfulness In The Modern World

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The modern world, with all its demands, distractions, and annoyances, seems diametrically opposed to the practice of mindfulness. Most people hold on to the semi-conscious belief that if they’re not out in nature or within the walls of a religious institution then there’s no point in trying to do anything spiritual.

Most of us have too many responsibilities to go live out in the desert or join a monastery though. If we want to practice mindfulness on a consistent basis we’ve got to work with the world we’ve been given, a loud world that’s always moving and changing, a chaotic world with a constant barrage of unwanted stimuli.

We can use this world to our advantage by treating some of these stimuli, particularly the ones we consider to be annoying, as bells of mindfulness inviting us to come back to our deep, steady breathing in order to make better contact with the here and now. Some examples of stimuli perfectly perfectly suited to the task are red stop lights, long lines, and rude remarks.

Think of some of the sights and sounds that usually get under your skin. The quality of these stimuli will change dramatically for you when you use them to remind yourself to focus on your breathing, to come to the moment and appreciate the wonder of being alive. It’s not like there’s a set time limit on how long you need to practice mindfulness for it to be effective. Even doing it for a few seconds a few times a day will produce some big changes for you. The idea from the mindfulness perspective is to be fully present all the time, regardless of what it is you’re doing, but we all have to start somewhere. Some mindfulness is better than no mindfulness, and what better way to start than by transforming the most annoying parts of your day into bells reminding you to devote a little bit of time to your practice?