Day Four: Being Mindful of Your Senses

On day two, we learned that thoughts are words, sounds, and pictures. I’ve found that too many people live life indirectly, only connecting with words, sounds, and pictures about life, and rarely the real deal. This is like going to a restaurant, looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions of the food on the menu, and saying, “Wow. That was a delicious meal.” This illustrates that thoughts are not the same as, and really don’t compare to direct experience.

I love to watch historical documentaries about war. I’ve seen footage of famous battles and heard reports of what it was like to be a soldier. Let’s imagine I took this interest to the next level and earned a Ph.D. in war studies. Even if I were revered as the world’s foremost expert on war, would it actually be true since I’ve never been in battle? Even with the highest capacity of intellectual understanding about war, the reality would be I know practically nothing about it. That’s the difference between thinking indirectly and experiencing directly. Until my physical body is placed in the middle of a battle to sense the carnage that’s taking place in my external environment, I simply don’t understand.

So far in this training my focus has been geared more toward passing on an intellectual understanding of what mindfulness is. Now it’s time to move beyond that. For the rest of the week, our focus will shift away from reading more to experiencing more through guided audio and videos. We’ve now laid the intellectual groundwork for the concept of mindfulness. Now it’s time to move deeper into your direct experience of mindful living.

In today’s lesson, you will learn to mindfully observe your senses by watching two videos. The first video is a simple exercise that I call “five things”. It’s a powerful tool that you can use anywhere, anytime to connect with sight, sound, and touch. I recommend it to break the thought/sensation cycle. The second video is a guided exercise in mindful eating, which is a great way to connect with all five of your external senses and practice mindfulness in your everyday life.