I encourage my meditation students to set up “mindfulness triggers,” by which I mean reminders to practice mindfulness. One of my mindfulness triggers is walking toward a pedestrian crossing, when I remind myself to have no expectations that the approaching cars will stop. Another is closing my car door and walking to my office, when I remember to walk meditatively in order to arrive at Wildmind’s World Headquarters mindfully and in a state of lovingkindness.
But some of us need mindfulness triggers for our mindfulness triggers, meaning that we read about these kinds of pracices and even plan to set them up, but then in the heat of daily action we forget to follow through.
If that’s you, then here are a few ideas to do right now. Stop everything and just do at least one of these things, otherwise you’ll forget. Habit is a very strong thing…
- First, change the ring tone and text message alert tone on your cellphone. When you hear the different sounds, you’ll be jolted into an awareness that they’ve changed, and this will remind you to take three deep breaths, and to notice what your current experience is before you answer the phone. So go grab your phone and do that now. I’ll wait.
- Second, if you spend much time on a computer, go to this site and set up a bell to ring randomly. When the bell rings, you’ll remember to take three deep breaths, and to notice what your current experience is. (There are mindfulness apps for smartphones that will do the same thing.)
- Third, put a band-aid on your finger. You’ll notice it throughout the day and it’ll remind you to take three deep breaths, etc. If it’s night time now, then set out a bandaid with your work clothes so that you remember to put it on tomorrow morning.
The more mindfulness we can bring into daily life, the better the quality of our awareness will be, and the more benefit we’ll be to others.