When we just chuck our keys down on the table, five minutes later, when can’t even remember where we put them. Because when we do this, our mind is really somewhere else. Thinking about what’s for dinner maybe, or it’s already thinking about what comes next. Mindfulness practice is not only for when we are “practicing.” If meditation only made us feel good in the meditation hall or taiji only made us feel better in the school, then it is no good at all. Better spend time doing something else.
The mindfulness we cultivate during our formal practice, sitting on the cushion or bench, taiji practice, has to be useful in our everyday life. When we sit, we pay close attention to the breath. We know where our body is and what it feels like. The same with taiji. We move the body and are fully aware. There is nothing left over. No chatter in the mind. Only the pure direct experience of moving the body and knowing the breath.
It can be the same when we handle house keys, car keys – any of those small and so necessary objects for daily life. When you put the keys down somewhere try this. It only takes a moment and the extra attention you give this inconsequential act will save you time later.
1. Take a breath. Feel the keys in your hand. Pay attention. Know the keys are in your hand.
2. Put the keys down slowly and deliberately. Be aware of your arm, your hand as you move through the air. As you release them give them your full attention. Pause a moment to register where they are in your mind. Slowly step away. Now the movement is complete.
That’s it. Try it and see what you think. What ever we do, let’s try to just do that one thing with our full attention. Then we’ll all spend less time hunting around for all our “lost” stuff. And we’ll see then, it’s not our things that we lose, it’s our minds.