As we engage in a daily life practice, it is helpful to become familiar with what it feels like to be mindful and present. At times throughout our day, we come into mindfulness; it happens spontaneously, effortlessly, for just a moment. This actually happens to us more than we realize, but it’s like the air we breathe: we don’t notice it. Typically we get a split second of knowing what is happening, and then we start thinking about what we noticed, or planning about it, or remembering something we did yesterday that was similar to what we’re doing now. We usually simply use awareness to navigate our lives. We have an experience: the water is hot, we know it is hot, and we jerk our hand out. We notice a stain the linoleum, so we go down to clean it. We use the recognition of what is going on to plan, to further our lives. We rarely recognize the quality of
While the feeling of knowing that you are aware can seem like a subtle feeling, actually, it is a feeling that is very familiar to us, but we rarely pay attention to the feeling. If you know that you are reading this article, then the feeling of awareness is there in your experience. Don’t look too hard for it. Just explore how your experience feels when you know that you are aware. Over time, you will begin to recognize the feeling of awareness. As you become familiar with this feeling, you will notice yourself coming back into mindfulness many, many times throughout the day. In the midst of an activity, you will suddenly recognize that you are aware of what is happening. You might be reaching for something, walking across the street, finishing a meal, or driving the car. Appreciating these moments creates the conditions for you to recognize these moments even more frequently.