spiritual writings | retreat center directory

You're invited to visit our sister site DanJoseph.com, a resource site
featuring articles on spirituality, psychology, and A Course in Miracles.

Home | Writings | Health | Steven Hayes | Into Your Life part 1 | next   

Excerpted from Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life by Steven Hayes. Copyright 2006 by Steven Hayes. Excerpted by permission of New Harbinger Publications, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 

"Practicing mindfulness every day may sound like a daunting prospect but it becomes worthwhile immediately and, after a while, many people find that they really like doing it."

  Steven Hayes,
Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life,
Part 1

Practicing mindfulness isn't going to do you much good if you just do the exercises written in this book and then forget about them. You need to make an effort to bring your attention more completely to the many moments in your life, fully, without defense, nonjudgmentally, defused, and accepting. Formal practice can help you acquire the skills, but it is informal practice, using these skills in your day-to-day life, that is most important.

This chapter will help you develop ways to deepen your experience with mindfulness by asking you to pay attention to many different types of experiences as they enter your awareness. It will also give you some concrete ideas on how you can institute a mindfulness practice into your daily life.

DAILY PRACTICE

Before moving on to the next battery of mindfulness techniques it is worthwhile to take some time to speak about when to practice mindfulness. Ultimately, the answer is "all the time." The problem with this answer is that you probably aren't accustomed to practicing mindfulness. It's unlikely that you will randomly remember to apply mindfulness skills to day-to-day moments until they have become well established.

To deal with this problem, it's a good idea to set aside some time to practice mindfulness every day. Once it becomes second nature (if it ever does), you can reconsider whether this is still necessary. Practicing mindfulness every day may sound like a daunting prospect but it becomes worthwhile immediately and, after a while, many people find that they really like doing it. However, regardless of whether you like or dislike it, these preferences are just more content your mind produces, and the whole point is to take back control over your life from your personal word machine. Given that, it is far more effective just to make the decision to practice every day, and then go for it. Here are some ways that you can institute a daily mindfulness practice:

1. Set aside the time. In the beginning, it can be useful to set aside a designated amount of time every day or every week to practice mindfulness skills. The section below on sitting meditation has some specific examples related to that particular exercise. However, you can use the same basic principles for any of the mindfulness practices you choose to engage in.

The first thing you will want to do is figure out how many times a week you want to practice. We recommend that you practice some form of mindfulness every day. If you absolutely can't seem to fit that into your schedule, then figure out how much you can manage.

Second, it's a good idea to set a time limit to your practice. Something between fifteen and thirty minutes at a time is a good starting point. You can adjust this as you choose, once you become accustomed to the practice.

next ->