Every day we walk outside our door to go to work, the post office, the grocery store or wherever, our mind is already ahead of itself. In many of the mindfulness-based classes I teach we start with Jon Kabat-Zinn’s raisin exercise where we pretend we’ve never seen this raisin before and proceed to bring all our five senses to it. Inevitably people come out saying they noticed so much more about the raisin than they ever knew. Many say they enjoyed it so much more and found it satisfying.
The question remains, how much of life do we miss out on day-to-day as we spend so much attention in the past and future?
Jan Chozen Bays is a physician and Zen teacher and her latest book How to Train a Wild Elephant: & other adventures in mindfulness, she teaches us many practices to engage in week to week, but here’s a simple one to show us how much we usually miss.
See the Color Blue
In this practice we’re challenged to look for the color blue in our environment wherever we go. We begin to look past the obvious, like the sky and begin to see the nuances of every day. As I practiced this I started also naturally beginning to open up to all the other colors in the day.
It’s as if my day began to light up with color and I believe this correlates with feeling well.
When we’re feeling depressed in life things seem a lot more gray, things seem less alive, there is a lack of color.
Doing this simple practice, and I mean simple, primes the mind to start seeing more color naturally and can bring an aliveness to life.
Try it out today and let your experience be your teacher.
Photo by Dottie Mae, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.
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Last reviewed: 3 Sep 2011