Fair warning: This is going to be sort of a hippie-dippie post. I want to talk about how meditation and working on my mindfulness through concentrated practice has made an impact in my life, and hope to do so in as unpretentious and grounded method as I can.
As I’ve been working on my mindfulness over the past few months, I’ve really started to feel it have an appreciable affect on my enjoyment and awareness of life around me. This started to manifest itself in a few ways, but one of the most intriguing to me is through a sense of heightened awareness of the moment. More and more frequently as I continue my practice, I find small moments where I am more aware of the happenings around me, the sensory descriptions, and the feeling of it all. Occasionally, this feels like a very vivid dream, where I am merely an observer to some vignette that wouldn’t be significant for any other reason.
Recently on Twitter, one of my friends mused that the post office offered a cozy feeling of mundanity, akin to Animal Crossing.
This is a perfect example to me of what mindfulness means, and what it can be for you. A contentment with normal everyday life, a consideration for all those around you, and an awareness of the world you might miss otherwise. Sometimes, I become hyperaware of something around me, some human interaction, or small moment. There’s something really special about these; they can feel like a tiny moment revealing itself to you alone. Hopefully I can share a few of these moments with you.
One day, I was walking home from a park near my apartment, where I had been sitting and doing nothing, just trying to take it all in. It had rained earlier, and was supposed to start again soon. It was late afternoon, just before the streetlights came on. Too early in Summer to hear cicadas or see fireflies, but there is something unique about the way the air feels that time of year.
On the path home, there’s a storm drain that never works as it should. If it rains more than a few inches, as it had that day, you could be sure there would be a puddle gathered there. Sometimes, it blocked the whole corner off for pedestrians, wrapping around the sidewalks.
I walked to the curb, about to cross the street to avoid it. I heard some voices down the block, and turned to see who they were. A dad walked over with his three kids, two girls and a smaller boy. All the kids had bright yellow rubber rain boots on, while the Dad wore dark brown leather boots, and round wire-rimmed glasses.
They all walked without a care in the world, laughing a giggling down the street, the two girls skipping and holding hands, swinging their ams as they went. The Dad carried the boy close to his chest, and laughed along with them. The boy seemed almost asleep.
Avoiding the puddle, the Dad walked into the empty street, one girl in tow, while the other kept up along the sidewalk. The girl went as far as should could, seeing a few feet of standing water in front of her. The Dad stopped at the corner, just on the other side of the puddle, the boy at his chest, and holding the hand of the other girl. They all turned to the lone girl on the sidewalk, who seemed unsure of how to proceed. A gentle wind pushed through the trees. All was still. The Dad nodded her on, saying a word of encouragement.
She took a step or two back, and ran forward, jumping off at the curb, hanging in the air, and landing about a foot short in the puddle. The whole family, minus the boy, were splashed. Then the Dad started to laugh. Then the girl holding his hand, and finally the girl in the puddle. They all giggled together, chuckling, and the Dad dropped the hand of the girl to motion the puddle girl on. She jogged over, got caught up, and they continued on their merry way, and so did I.
Sometimes it’s a whole moment, like that; other times it’s merely a shared glance. Other times still it’s just a sense of ease that washes over and through me when I am alone. I’ve started to keep a record of these moments, and I hope to share them more with you. And if this idea of awareness has interested you, I encourage you to do some reading on the topic. The Raptitude blog is a great place to start, as is the Headspace app. Or even more minimally, just take this idea of a conscious resting awareness with you into your day to day life. You might be surprised at what you see.