Have you ever noticed that every once in awhile there is a lull in group conversation? Even though there may be multiple conversations going on and lots of people chattering, it suddenly gets quiet. Some people call this the 7 minute lull. It may even feel awkward and usually someone will chuckle and say aloud “there’s the seven minute lull.” There’s something about these pauses in conversation, group processes and even pauses between thoughts that make us feel uncomfortable.
We don’t know what to say or do because we have become so accustomed to doing. Jon Kabat-Zinn has said that we have become more like “human doings” than human beings and we really notice this in the pauses or spaces between our daily doings.
This week, see if you can bring mindfulness to the spaces between. Notice what you feel, smell, taste, see and hear. Notice the thoughts, the physical sensations and the feelings when there are pauses in your day. Natural pauses happen between breaths, before we rise in the morning or go to bed at night and even between thoughts or tasks. Take mindful pauses between other spaces throughout the day:
♣ In between meetings
♣ Before getting into or out of your car
♣ Before answering the phone
♣ In between conversations
♣ In between tasks
♣ During the transition from room to room or work to home and vice versa
♣ Before bites of food
With practice, each second can be new and fresh. With practice, you may notice more about yourself and your surroundings and even gain deeper insight into problems or specific situations.
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.
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