How Much Mindfulness is Enough?

Disciple: “How many hours should I spent doing mindfulness, master?”

Master: “The moment you wake up til the moment you go to bed.”

People often associate meditation with sitting meditation. But what many do not know is that, in fact, meditation in daily life is actually just as important. Walking to class, going to work, sitting at your desk, talking to your love ones, brushing your teeth, or washing dishing. Every moment is the opportunity to grow by practicing mindfulness.

Walking to Class Needs Meditation

Sometimes when I walked to class, my mind got ahead of myself. It demanded, “I want to be at the class right now!” Once I had unmindfully put my happiness a head of where I am. I became unhappy. Each step I took, all I could think about is “Why am I not there yet? Why am I not there yet? Why am I not there yet?”

What I do not realize is that I am being anxious and frustrated not because I haven’t reach my destination but because I’ve unskillfully placed my mind not in the reality but ahead of the reality. 

What is the tool to help me to bring myself back to the reality/present moment? Of course, it is mindfulness. Once I remember to walk mindfully instead of letting my mind ran away with my happiness. I bring my happiness back simply by coming back to the present moment and be mindful of each step. This is meditation in daily life.

Walking to class might seems like a trivial matter. But I would argue that walking to class is, in fact, no different from walking toward your goal in life. So if you can learn to be happy on your way to class, you can also learn to be happy on your way toward your goal.

Although I have talked about meditation as a way to bring us happiness by bring us back to reality. But another important theme that should be emphasized is that meditation makes people grow.

Meditation makes people grow.

If I walk to class everyday without being mindful of my obsessive passion to get to class, I am building my mental habits and my tendency to be unhappy the next time I walk to class. By being unmindful, therefore, I am learning to be unhappy. But each time that I can be mindful to class, I intentionally choose to unlearned my mental habits and transform myself from being unsatisfied to being happy.

Meditation is transformative when put to use in daily life. 

When you are waiting inline and someone in front of you is being slow, you might get impatient and irritated. But when you are mindful of your anger, you can learn to overcome it. In that way, not only will you learn how to save yourself your happiness but at the same time you are learning to build your character from someone who is impatient to someone who is patient.

When you are talking to others, sometimes you might become defensive. But once you become mindful that you are being defensive, you can change. You can slowly choose to transform yourself from someone who is defensive and sentivie to someone who is open and composed.

When sitting at your desk, you might often be distracted and sidetrack by going on social media or watching youtube videos. But by being mindful we can train ourselves to stay focus and productive.

Clearly, meditation is not just something you do for a period of time. It is what one can do all day in every activity. So how much mindfulness is enough? That depends on how much you want to better yourself and how much you care about your happiness. The more you do it the more change you can be for yourself and the happier you become!

Remember, mindfulness is your inner school. No one is in class when you are unmindful. So be present. (Literally and figuratively!)

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