One of the most commonly asked questions when talking about mindfulness is, “where do I start?” The answer is simple; start where you are. If you have no understanding of mindfulness (although that in itself is a paradox in terms) then there’s this lovely little story I heard that explains it perfectly…
A Buddhist master is walking with his student in the mountains one day.
” Master, I want to practice mindfulness as you do, but although I have been practising for 6 years, I don’t know where to start.”
“Can you hear that stream?” the master replied.
The student couldn’t and stopped for a moment to listen.
“Yes,” he said, “I can hear that now.”
“Then start there.” said the Buddhist master matter of factly.
They continued to walk and a little further on the student turned again to the master.
“Master, might I just ask, what would you have said if I had said I couldn’t hear the stream?”
The master simply smiled and said to the student, “start here.”
Mindfulness is nothing more than immersing yourself in the present moment and each moment as they happen. Through your senses, taking in everything you hear, see, smell and feel in any moment. Often we can’t grasp it because of the simplicity. We need to see something to understand it or we need an explanation to grasp something.
There is nothing to see, nothing to grasp, just being with what is. When you attempt to describe the ‘is-ness’ you have lost it because it is nameless, without form and indescribable. We use words because that’s how we communicate and if I were to publish a blank page everyone would assume I had done so by mistake.
So to begin to meditate or to practise mindfulness, start here. Where you are at, in this moment…and the next, and the next. There is only ever one moment.