As I normally post new weekly practices on a Sunday, the topic of this week’s practice is rather appropriate. Apologies to anyone who has been kept in a state of waiting by my tardiness. Here are some things you can do when you find yourself in a place or situation that is preventing you from being somewhere where you want to be!
Any time you find yourself waiting – when you’re in a queue at a shop, waiting for someone who’s late, or waiting for the ‘please wait’ icon on your computer screen to disappear – take this as an opportunity to pause. There are several practices that work well in these sorts of situations:
First and foremost mindfulness of breathing, beginning with a few deep breaths to help dispel any tension over having to wait. Find the place in your body where you are most aware of the breath – nostrils, chest or belly – and place your attention on the sensations in that area, being curious and noticing how they are continually changing.
Another useful practice for waiting time is listening to sounds, opening and expanding your hearing to take in the whole room and receive whatever arises in your external landscape. As best you can, experiment with experiencing sounds as just ‘sounds’ rather than labelling them in a reactive way, as pleasant or unpleasant.
Any time you can spend bringing a gentle investigative attention to the network and patterns of sensations occurring in your body, is time well spent. Our body can provide a lot of insight into our ‘state of mind’ and it communicates to us continuously. Sadly, we pay little attention to the signals of our body, unless they are clamouring to us, demanding our attention in some way. So, when you are waiting for something and perhaps experiencing some impatience about it, this is one wonderful opportunity to ‘go to the body’, gently bringing the focus of your attention and curiosity to the energy of your physical experience as it shifts and changes from moment to moment.
This is the tricky bit. When you notice yourself becoming annoyed by having to wait, just pause and remind yourself
This is terrific! I have some unexpected time to check in with myself and do some mindfulness practice.”
It sounds simple, but it is even easier to forget in the heat of battle.
Best of luck and remember be gentle to yourself when you realise you are getting cross or exasperated, for it is this moment of noticing and resultant awareness, that is the moment, the genesis of mindfulness.
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Image courtesy of gilles chiroleu