Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten why you went there?
Have you ever waited for information and when it finally comes you somehow miss it?
Have you ever driven somewhere and not remembered the journey.
Ever read a few pages of text and can’t remember a single thing you’ve read?
If you have experienced any of the above then you already know what it means not to be mindful; to miss moments in our lives that we can never get back.
Mindfulness is simply the art of paying attention.
When we are mindful we know where our attention is and can choose where we direct it.
It’s a powerful way to live.
When we are paying attention to the present moment rather than being distracted by a past we can’t change, or a future of possibilities, we taste our food more, work more efficiently, move more safely, and notice more; about ourselves, each other and our environment. We connect to our own lives and the lives of those around us.
In mindfulness practice, our attention is naturally grounded in the present moment if we simply tune into our senses. We can use any of our senses to help us focus on the present moment.
The following are activities we can do with our children to increase our own and our children’s ability to remain mindful.
- Take them outside, get them to close their eyes, place different objects in their hands and ask them to describe and name the object using only touch.
- Move slowly and ask them to mirror your movements, then change roles.
- Find a clear glass vase and fill with water. Get the children to put in a few drops of food dye, first one colour then gradually add new colours. Silently watch what happens to the food drops in the water.
- Do blind taste tests with a variety of foods, vegetables, fruit, dried fruit. Use different brands of the same food item and match.
- Investigate one food item, such as a raisin, or a cranberry, using all of the senses, (sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste), as if you have never experienced it before.
- Listen to a piece of music and try to hear a particular instrument. Try to name all the instruments you can hear. Classical is good for this.
- Play Chinese whispers
- Teach yourself to juggle. I have it on good authority that it’s good to begin with scarves, but I’ve yet to master more than two)
- Throw and catch a ball to each other at the same time.
The mind is fickle and flighty, it flies after fancies whenever it likes: it is indeed difficult to restrain. But it is a great good to control the mind; a mind controlled is a source of great joy…
Dhammapada from the Buddhist tradition
Lee Jellis Student Wellbeing Coordinator