One of the basics of mindfulness is to be present in the moment without judging the moment. This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the moment, in fact, quite the opposite: by being present in the moment, you can appreciate the full scale of the positive emotions and feelings of a positive experience much more. This is because by not judging and actively comparing a positive experience, the moment becomes more positive: you are really present in the moment without the mind wandering off or comparing expectation and reality. This may seem a little bit strange at first, however, I’m sure you’ll see how this works after today’s exercise.
For today’s exercise, plan something you anticipate to be enjoyable. This can be something short, or long: Invite a friend for dinner, go for a stroll in the park, give a massage to your partner… choose any activity you are likely to enjoy. Please, don’t approach what you are doing with expectations though, as these are future directed and often disappoint: Try and approach your planned activity without loading it up with expectations of how you are going to feel or what is going to happen. Aim to look at the planned activity from a disinterested third party perspective.
When the time has come, perform the activity. Pay careful attention to each little aspect of the activity: try to observe every detail, as if you wanted to write about it and describe every sensation you are having. Depending on which activity you have chosen, observe every aspect of it. How is the texture of the food? The smell of it? Can you hear the waves from the river? Do you see the light reflecting on the surface? How does it feel to touch the skin of your partner? Can you hear changes in his breath? Remember to focus on every sensation, every detail and observe it attentively, but without judging or trying to think about how it could be different.
Once you have completed the activity, think about how you experienced the activity: did it change from how you would normally feel about it? Many people notice that because they paid active attention to each aspect of the activity, they enjoyed the moment much more than if they kept their mind busy, for example by thinking about what they would do next or comparing reality with expectation. Was this the same for you? Why don’t you share how you felt and how the activity was for you… you can use the comment function below. Or alternatively, use the hashtag #ug30bc on Twitter. See you again tomorrow!