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Archive for August 3rd, 2010

The other day, I wrote about my realization that shaving in the morning is a great experience of mindfulness on a practical level. I have been looking for other things I do that require mindfulness in order to be done well. I was overlooking one of the most obvious ones that I do practically every day. I am a programmer by profession and when I am creating code that will create a new program or utility that will allow a computer to do something differently or new I absolutely have to be mindful. If I allow my mind to wander and remain unfocused, I will introduce bugs or problems in my code that will prevent it from working. In addition to maintaining a focus on what I am doing without allowing my mind to wander, I must keep in mind those people who will be using the programs that I create. Without a concern for those who requested the work or those who will use the programs I write, my programs will not work correctly. I can program without mindfulness but I almost always end up going back to change and modify the code that I write when I perform my tasks mindlessly. I will either have created a problem with my program or it will not work exactly the way that my users need it to.

Mindfulness like this is not easy. Mindfulness requires effort and practice and constant awareness. When I think about mindfulness like this, it’s easy to understand why we live so much of our lives mindlessly: it’s a lot easier to live mindlessly. One reason that I have created so many blog posts is that I write in times that I need to stop what I’m doing and think about something else. In the past, I may have spent that down time running to the vending machine or to the corner store and pick up junk food that contributed to my weight gain. Now, I’m spending it thinking about my life and how I’m living it and writing my thoughts here. Even these blog posts require mindfulness. If I try to write while my mind wanders, I will end up deleting sentences or entire paragraphs because I haven’t said anything worth reading.

The other day I saw a tweet from someone on Twitter about mindfulness. They were saying that mindfulness is the key to unlocking creativity. I could not agree more with this sentiment. Whether I am trying to create a new computer program, a new blog post or a new solution to a problem I need to attend to it mindfully in order to really create something I’m happy with. Maybe this is why trying to incorporate mindfulness into my life has come easier for me since I was doing it already without realizing it. Mindfulness is a skill that requires practice to cultivate and grow. If you find that you are struggling to be mindful try to identify the distractions that are preventing you from being able to attend mindfully to the task at hand. Ask yourself why you are distracted and try to get to the root of your mindlessness. There are as many (if not more)┬áreasons to resist mindfulness as there are people on this planet. In order to begin your mindfulness journey, you need to identify your barriers to mindfulness and start to overcome them. Breathing and concentrating on the breath is a great way to get grounded and start to be mindful. I often find that when I am facing a difficult task that I return to my breathing first and then I can apply the mindfulness that the situation demands. Good luck to you in finding your own way to mindfulness.

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