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.
Good ideas. Have set up a mindfulness bell on the site you mention. I am still meditating daily, btw.
10 minutes today: 5 minutes of anapanasati and 5 minutes of metta bhavana.
Thank you very much for these ideas. Two or three weeks ago, I changed the wallpaper on my mobile phone to put a picture of a lotus flower. It was aimed at reminding me to be mindful each time I check the clock or the text messages on my phone. But for the moment it’s not successful that much (sometimes it makes me think of practicing mingfulness, sometimes not), so I’ll try your tips. Maybe changing my wallpaper regularly would help?
I found out about this 100 day challenge through a friend on Facebook. My own meditation practice has been rather erratic recently, and I thought it would be interesting to take up this challenge and see how I got on. So far I’ve managed every day for 15 days, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. So thanks, Bodhipaksa. I’ll aim to respond here a few more times to comment on progress.
That’s excellent. I’m not sure how many unbroken days I’ve had so far. The last time I missed a day was early October, I think, so I’d estimate it’s about 75 at the moment. It was the simple affirmation I describe in this post that helped me get my practice back to being absolutely daily. I did miss that one day in October, but know why it happened (I dropped the affirmation prematurely), otherwise I’d be well past the 100 day mark already. I’m looking forward to being able to express my “run” of unbroken sits in years rather than days!
16/100 Yesterday, I meditated only in the morning, not in the evening, and I did not read yesterday’s Challenge post until this evening. This morning I meditated again, and hope to meditate again tonight. It would be great to have years without missing a day of meditation, even if only once a day. The idea of mindfulness triggers sounds good, too.
[…] to bring a mindfulness, metta, and insight program into daily consciousness. It would function as a mindfulness trigger, but with the added bonus that it would deliver practice suggestions (“Notice the change […]