What would it look like if we all paused for just one breath? What if you paused before that snarky comment came out of your mouth; before you mindlessly cut someone off in traffic; before you sent that email? Mindfulness teaches that when we pause we make better and more loving decisions.
Our current culture, teaches us that grasping and trying leads to better decisions. There is always a new pill, a new diet, a new top 5 list, to take us out of the moment. It makes us feel like if we just read more, try harder, and go more quickly we will get to wherever it is we are trying to be. Yet, when we pause and take a breath, we let go of the trying and open up to the being. In being (not doing) we make better decisions.
We resist pausing because it can be uncomfortable. The thrill of something new and shiny, whether it is something indulgently distracting or a new strategy, sends a blast of energy throughout the body. We get excited, inspired, and feel ready to take it all on. Unfortunately, like anything else, this is transient. And we wind up living in a perpetual state of grasping for something that feels just out of reach.
This week, see if you can practice pausing by being mindful in the moment:
- As you leave home for the day.
- Before you respond to someone.
- Before you order your food.
- Before you make a decision.
- Before you start something.
- Before you end something.
- While you are engaged.
- Before you tell yourself something isn’t or is true.
- When you come home from the day.
Let the pause bring you the insight you have been searching for.
Mindful moments are short practices to be used throughout your week to relax, integrate and center yourself. Inspired by the wisdom traditions and science, mindful moments are meant to be accessible and simple enough for anyone to practice. Many teachers and leaders in integrative medicine have influenced our approach to mindful moments. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Pema Chodron would say it is “practicing in the gaps.” Look for the weekly mindful moment every Monday. May it support you in finding your center to live life to the fullest.