“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have…” Eckhart Tolle
For one moment, pause and ask yourself this question. How would life be like if I was able to slow down, and pause, instead of running on automatic?
Don’t you want to enjoy what life has to offer, appreciate people and things around you, feel at peace despite the chaos, discover and build on healthy habits and meaningful relationships?
The simple answer is, yes!
The solution is to simply to pause!
Most of our day consists of a bunch of automatic responses to things that are happening around us. Rarely do we “Stop to smell the roses” as they saying goes. In order to learn this response of ” stop and smelling the roses”, we first need to acknowledge our autopilot. Once done, we must cultivate the habit of stopping throughout our day and taking some time to notice our surrounding, reflect, and just observe.
This practice is known as Mindfulness. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn , “mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally.” And this is the exact trick to getting the mind to stop, to connect with your now, to move away from clutter, and to be at peace with yourself.
Why is this important? Well, if you take the time to today to notice how most of your day is spent, you will realize you’re actually not there most of the time. Although you are physically doing, you are not connected with your emotional, mental or spiritual side.
Ask yourself: Have you every noticed the dew on leaves? the chirping of birds? the sounds of nature? even the bustling of humans on the road? the raving of cars? Have you ever stopped at a thought, felt kind, shown compassion to a given moment?
We are either stuck in ruminating thoughts of the past causing sadness, racing to the future causing unnecessary worry, or simply acting mundanely on tasks/routines to be completed.
Below are 5 Mindful Habits that I’ve learned to incorporate into my life. Simple changes that have had profound effects on my life. At first, they may seem ineffective sometimes silly, however, with time as they become habitual you will be able to interceded in the chatter of your brain. You will start to feel at peace, more in control, and more aware of your state-physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. You will realize that all the energy spent in the “should’ve done’s, “Will doe’s” “why’s?” is better spent on what you are doing at that very moment.
In that moment is where you will find the most peace, productivity, calm and contentment.
1. Pause and take a deep breath.
First, Learn to simply stop! Pause and notice your breath. Tell yourself I am here at this very moment. I am not in the past or the future. I am breathing now, grateful, content for this air. If you find this practice too difficult, stick post it’s around your house, car, office or places that you spend most of your time in. These will serve as a reminder for you to Pause, reflect and take a breath.
As you add this aspect to your life, you will start to reflect and give gratitude to everything Allah swt has blessed you with. Many things that you once took for granted.
“If you count Allah’s blessings, you can never encompass them all.
2. Pick one task to focus on daily
Start with something simple like brushing your teeth. Try and only focus on the act of brushing your teeth. Don’t look in the mirror, don’t look at the mess in the bathroom, and don’t think of anything but brushing your teeth. Feel the bristles against your teeth, the warmth or coolness of the water, the various textures, the bubbles, the minty smells.
Whether it’s walking, driving, washing dishes, whatever you choose, know that each of these events can allow you to be grateful, see and feel the profound blessings of your Lord. His mercy, love and kindness towards you. And know that He is capable of doing anything for you.
“Do they not see that Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, and was not wearied by their creation, is Able to give life to the dead? Yes, He surely is Able to do all things”. Quran 46:33
3. Start noticing things around you
I’m a broken record with this statement, I know “We live on automatic”, yet I can’t stress it enough. We simply move through our environment without being aware of how we move, or what’s happening around us, as we move. As you walk around today bring attention to the surface as your heels bounce of the ground. Ask yourself, Am I relaxed or am I tense? Is my posture slumped or straight? Bring your senses to the sights, smells and sounds on the earth.
You’ll notice that life around you is full of beauty, wisdom, warmth and surprises. Colors, sounds, smells and sights you’ve ignored for too long.
4. Catch your thoughts
At different moments in your day pause to notice what you’re thinkin. What kind of thoughts do you spend most of your time in? Are they motivating and positive? Or are they always stuck in what’s wrong? Or do you constantly worry about what you have to do?
Realize that these thoughts are impacting you- physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. They can be limiting, you can be more that where your thoughts take and keep you.
Remember as a Muslim every action counts, and our intentions are in focus at all times. Are you spending any time in remembrance of your Lord, thinking well about someone, making dua, reflecting on things positively?
Your thoughts will take you where your heart is. Take a pause to question, where is my heart? Bring your heart back to the moment where it connects not with the depressive past, or anxious future, but with its most favorable state, the present.
“Beware, in the body there is a flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart.”
Al-Bukhari & Muslim
5. In Salah take time to be quiet
Take these 5 moments in your life to gift yourself with peace. Allow your body, mind and soul to rejuvenate and remember that no one else but Allah swt can give this peace to you. Don’t rush. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and free your mind. Realize who you’re praying to. How Merciful is your Lord. How compassionate is He? Simply sit on your mat and reflect on his qualities, and then with a clean mind, Ask for anything your heart desires.
Those who attain faith, and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.
– Surah Ra’ad, verse 28