Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day 29 - Pratyahara

The mind can be made steady by focussing on the activities of the senses
-- Patanjali

As we go through our daily life, many of us our not using our senses properly. We take in so much and we are so overstimulated by the energy of the world around us, but we never take the time to really process all the stimulus our senses soak up. When was the last time you stopped to smell a flower, or listen to birdsong, or taste the flavour of the food you are eating? I know for my part I have a tendency to live my life in a constant state of rush - from client to class to errand completely ignoring everything around me apart from the task I am focussing on.

Most of us our guilty of rushing through life in this way, thinking only of train timetables, email inboxes, telephone calls. We rarely stop to allow ourselves to be aware of the wonder that surrounds us and the things that our senses take in every day.

By being aware of our senses and what they take in, we can begin to have some measure of control over them and only then can we come to have any measure of control enough to steady the mind.

A good way to start is mindful eating. Next time you eat, be it a full meal or just an apple, begin to be aware of each mouthful, how it feels in your mouth, how it tastes in different parts of the mouth. Chew slowly and swallow with awareness and gratitude, taking time before the next mouthful.

Slowly over time we can begin to bring mindfulness into all the tasks in our daily routine!


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