Mindfulness is available to us at all times.
I say that to myself - and then I forget. The opportunity is there, and then it is gone. Too late. Feels like too much effort. Or something puts in an appearance that has more icing on the top, or at least appears to and feels easier to consume - but ultimately leaves me with a sense of no satisfaction. The ship has sailed. The mindfulness moment has been missed.
Look out for those times when the mind is floundering. When you are not focusing. Maybe you are reaching for your phone, or engaging in aimless browsing, or looking to do something out of character (like clean the bedroom?!). What are you avoiding?
Just catching yourself in that moment as you waver off course, that is mindfulness. You’ve caught yourself getting lost, loosing your focus. You’ve caught yourself loosing your awareness of what you are doing.
The more formal practice of sitting in meditation helps us to develop the muscle, the awareness that allows us to be more aware of those moments when we loose ourselves, and just as important gives us the strength to pull ourselves back on course. For those who have tried to right their ship of focusing on an activity when distractions call, you will know how difficult it is to pull yourself away from those easier, “more exciting” activities.
The Tibetans have a saying for this, as you reach for that which is more enticing and boredom removing,
…like licking honey from a razor’s edge.
I think that it is a wonderful image and it hurts my tongue to think of it! We are drawn to the excitement, the distractions, and in doing so hurt ourselves from loosing our balance and sense of being grounded.
So our formal practice, and our daily awareness live in a dance, one reinforcing and strengthening the other.