I've been a student of mindfulness for nearly 30 years. I am no expert, yet I remain faithful to the process. It helps me to think of mindfulness like this:
To be mindful is to be present to yourself--as you are in this very moment, doing all that you are doing, feeling all that you are feeling. To be present to yourself is a loving act, an act of "presence."
As people on the path to awakening, we deeply value when someone else can be fully present to us, don't we? We revel in their attention, their willingness to be fully here, available on all levels to hear what we have to say, or to bear witness to what we are feeling. We love their presence.
The truth of the matter is, you cannot be fully present to others (and offer them presence) if you cannot be fully present to yourself. Practicing mindfulness allows you to do this—a win-win situation where all parties involved benefit from your being present, including you!
©2023, Jan Lundy
Our spiritual lives are not a series of great moments or grand awakenings, as much as we would like them to be. Sacredness is most often found in the daily, the ordinary routine of day-to-day life. It is found in the pause, the kiss, the sky, the garden, the oven, the well-laid table.
Gunilla Norris, author of Being Home, wrote, "In my own life I have found no better way than to value and savor the sacredness of daily living, to rely on repetition, that humdrum rhythm, which heals and steadies."
What simple activities can you take pleasure in today that will bring steadiness? An awareness and appreciation for the sacred?
©2023, Jan Lundy
If you have ever suffered a dramatic loss or death, or dealt with a life-threatening illness, the importance of living in the present makes itself known. You learn very quickly that the past is over and done with; that there is no reason to dwell on the past except to learn and go on. You understand more fully that there are no guarantees of tomorrow; that you, or the people you love, may not even be here one hour from now. So you learn to stay present, to savor and appreciate the moment at hand.
Barbara DeAngelis, Ph.D. says in her book, Real Moments: “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why we call it the "present."
The present moment is truly a gift, one we can leave unopened or one that we can joyously unwrap to savor its beauty and meaning. The choice is ours.
I have a lovely friend who signs off her emails by saying, "Breathe deep the day." Each time I read this I really do take a deeper breath. It's delicious.
I notice "breathing deep the day" centers me and it also turns me toward gratitude—appreciation for this one-of-a-kind day. I am so very aware at this stage of my life how special each day is, as well as how fleeing time is. Each moment is precious and can easily slip away into obscurity without my loving attention.
If you take a few moments right now and breathe deep the day in your own way, what do you notice? How do you feel and what shimmers for you?
I hope and pray that awareness of the precious present sings in your heart today just as it does mine.
Gentle and timely reminders for the spiritual journey, because sometimes we forget or need a kind nudge back to Center.
Dr. Janice Lynne Lundy (PsyD, DMin, MPC)
is The Gerald May Professor of Spiritual Direction & Counseling at the Graduate Theological Foundation. She is an interspiritual director/mentor, educator and counselor who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for nearly thirty years.