A Day of Mindfulness
This idea originates from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, The Miracle of Mindfulness.
Many practitioners argue that Mindfulness should be a constant practice, not just exercises you do from time to time. That’s easy to say, but to carry it out in practice is not. That’s why it’s recommended that you start small, incorporating mindfulness into your life a little at a time. But for those who’ve already done so, or want a bigger challenge, you might try a Day of Mindfulness.
Choose a day of the week, Saturday or Sunday perhaps, during which you will be entirely mindful. Set up a way to remind yourself upon waking that this is your day of mindfulness. Smile upon waking. This is your day. While still lying bed, begin slowly to follow your breath — slow, long, and conscious breaths. Then slowly rise from bed (instead of turning out all at once as usual), feeling mindful in every motion.
Once up, do all your morning activities in a calm and relaxing way. Follow your breath, take hold of it, and don’t let your thoughts scatter. Measure your steps with quiet, long breaths. Maintain a half smile.
Go about your day, doing whatever you need to do. Chores, maybe, or leisure activities. Whatever the tasks, do them slowly and with ease, in mindfulness. Don’t do any task in order to get it over with. Resolve to do each job in a relaxed way, with all your attention. Enjoy and be one with your work. Without this, the day of mindfulness will be of no value at all. The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done in mindfulness.
For those who are just beginning to practice, it is best to maintain a spirit of silence throughout the day. That doesn’t mean that on the day of mindfulness, you shouldn’t speak at all. You can talk, you can even sing, but if you talk or sing, do it in complete mindfulness of what you are saying or singing, and keep talking and singing to a minimum. Naturally, it is possible to sing and practice mindfulness at the same time, just as long as one is conscious of the fact that one is singing and aware of what one is singing. This is recommended because it is much harder to stay mindful when you are using your voice. It’s another added element to handle.
In the morning, make yourself a pot of tea (or coffee, though less traditional). Sit and drink it in mindfulness. Let yourself linger over this task. Don’t gulp it down. Drink it slowly and reverently, as if it is the center of the universe. Do not rush the future. It will come when it comes. Live in the present moment instead. Don’t worry about things you have to do yet. Don’t think about what will happen next. Just be.
Cook and prepare your meals in mindfulness. Enjoy washing your dishes as much as you enjoyed eating your meal. Don’t dread the things you must do rather than want to do.
Be as distant from your phone and computer as you can manage. If you must interact with technology, do so mindfully, focusing on one task at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself with windows and tabs and apps open at the same time. Be one-mindful.
Try to spend a good part of your day outside, whether that’s walking in nature or working in your garden. Take some time to simply enjoy the natural world. Watch the clouds or the birds. Breathe in the outside air. Watch the sunset if you can see it.
Then, when it’s time, return to your bed and fall asleep in mindfulness.
If an entire day of it seems like too much mindfulness, perhaps just performing a task without ANY thought of getting it over with would be sufficient to bring me home to my true self. And what about drinking tea as if it is the axis on which the whole earth revolves? One-Mindfully is definitely one skill that can never be studied or practiced too much.