Tuesday, June 16, 2009


This morning I participated in a workshop Mindfulness. These days it seems like mindfulness is on everybody's agenda as the hot new thing. Being naturally curious I wondered what one would do in a workshop mindfulness. To me mindfulness is about being awake, aware of what is here and now going on around you as well as inside you. A way of life that I've been attempting to live ever since I first heard of the Vietnamese monk Thich Nath Hahn and read one of his books, "Peace Is Every Step" I think it was 1994.

Todays workshop was good, even though the subject matter wasn't exactly new to me. The trainer was very patient and had a soothing and slow voice. One of the mindfulness exersizes involved looking at a cherry tomato. Looking at it as long as we could, focussing on the look, feel, smell, all sensory perceptions of the tomato. It lasted a long time, which, because there was little else we could focus on, made the indepth look at the tomato all the more interesting. After you got past the whole "why were we doing this again" phase and on past the "I'm done with this tomato" phase, you got to the "wow, this tomato has a depth of colour, an almost transparent skin, it reflects the sunlight, etc. etc. The tomato, because of all that attention, became special.

And then we ate the tomato, mindfully. This means you almost study what the tomato tastes like, how it explodes with juices in the mouth, the textures, the aftertaste. It was an amazing taste sensation that reminded me that doing things with my full attention makes things so much more interesting that I wonder why we do so much on autopilot. Sure, things that are boring and repetitive ask to be automated, but why not bring more mindfulness to the things we enjoy doing?

Mindful cooking and eating come to mind, mindfully taking a bath, mindful lovemaking... the possibilities are endless.

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