5 Mindfulness Exercises to Help You Live In The Moment
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
5 Mindfulness Exercises to Help You Live In The MomentSimon Parke shares 5 parables to help you get centered
Editor’s Note: Here are five mindfulness parables from Simon Parke’s book One-Minute Mindfulness, which will help you get centred and lead you to a greater understanding of yourself and the world you live in:
The Supermarket Queue
Mindfulness starts at the supermarket checkout, where our queue is sure to be going slower than the one next to us. This is good training ground for surrender; and surrender is best started in small ways.
Once we have surrendered to the moment in the checkout queue, things improve. We begin to notice those around us, who were previously just a blurred background to our irritation. We also notice how happy we are, having accepted our circumstances, and brought ourselves into the aware present. Our happiness may well lead us to reach out to others with a smile or cheery remark.
And here’s another beneficial thing about mindfulness. When you realize you’ve forgotten the beans, relations with those around you are so good that the person behind is happy to hold your place while you nip back and get them.
It’s all going very well.
A Strange Solidarity
Mindfulness meditation is the art of fearless detection; the clues are in our present experience.
Perhaps you wake at night, troubled. It takes you a moment to realize that unresolved feelings have disturbed you. Becoming aware of this, you focus on your breathing, with an enquiring spirit. What is happening now? How is the trouble revealing itself in my body and mind?
You may be tempted to leave the scene and escape the investigation, by opting for a secondary pursuit, like turning on the telly or reading for a while. If, however, you’re able to stay with the feeling, you can use your breath to become present.
It may be that you now recognize the source of this inner disturbance; an anger, perhaps, or sadness or fear. Whatever it is, you are simply breathing with what is happening, almost in solidarity.
You are allowing the feeling and breathing with it. It has only woken you because it thought it wasn’t allowed...
A Peace of Truth
Mindfulness is not a peace comprised of lies; a peace that survives only because we turn away from unwanted energies inside us. Rather, it’s a peace comprised of truth, which invites us to turn away from nothing and to accept everything.
So I don’t chase away unwelcome energies when I sense their presence in me. Like bored teenagers, chasing them away only excites them. And these energies bring both a message from the past and a truth about my present.
So whether it’s hate, envy, rage, fear or despair, whatever forms the turbulence takes, I don’t reject but accept.
As I breathe in, I accept the distorted energy; and as I breathe out, I wish it well. Breathe in acceptance, breathe out good wishes.
And like bored teenagers, once accepted, turbulence finds new ways of being.
‘I Don’t Judge Others’
A woman came to see me. She was called Valerie and she told me that, though she judged herself, she didn’t judge others.
The matter had arisen because my experience of Valerie that afternoon had been one of judgement, repeated and harsh.
‘I feel you are judging me,’ I told her, ‘and in attributing bad motives to me, you make me feel devalued as a person.’
‘Oh, I’m not judging you,’ she replied. ‘I judge myself but I don’t judge others.’
What we do to ourselves, however, we pass on to others, as sure as summer follows spring. Much of Valerie’s suffering stems from her present inability to accept herself as someone who judges others. Refusing to acknowledge this person, refusing to accept them, she struggles on with her cover story.
It’s a good day when we’re courageous enough to accept ourselves as we truly are; it is like sunshine after the rain.
When Self-Help Books Don’t Help
Reading the restaurant menu is not the same as eating their food.
And reading self-help books is not the same as awareness.
A staircase exists to take you somewhere else. And when you are there, you don’t stay on the stairs, but step off.
Their task is done.
And so it is with spiritual reading. It only exists to take you to yourself.
And when there, you put it aside to engage with whatever is arising in you.
Other people’s words can only get in the way now.
It’s time to leave the stranger on the stairs.