Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


The Color Blue

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

In How to Train a Wild Elephant, Jan Chozen Bays suggests an exercise: notice the color blue as you move through the world. Of course, you could pick any color.

I tried this mindfulness exercise one day walking from my office in downtown Burlington to the University of Vermont. It’s a mile long walk up a hill. In the grey interior of winter, I would sometimes listen to music as I walked up the hill. The music provides a soundtrack to the movement and the passing by of life feels like a movie with its musical score. This particular day of record-breaking precocious spring, I decided not to listen to music. I wanted to “listen” to the sun and the sounds of spring instead.

As I walked up the hill, I also decided to attend to the color blue. Blue jeans, the occasional blue car, handicap signs in parking lots all popped out. The more I opened to that particular sensation, the more attentive I became. After a while, the blues started popping out–the odd blue trim, the blue fraternity sign, the glint of a blue shirt of the students walking by.

Attending to the outside world is a good way to get yourself out of the storytelling mind. Looking for the color blue–or whatever you like–is a good way to connect you to the world, more as it is rather than how you imagine it. Picking a color gives your busy mind something to do other than spinning stories, pressing on the to-do list, and worrying about the ten thousand things you can worry about.

Mindfulness practice does not need to be complicated, stationary, or interior. Any time that we attend to something with interest, we are practicing meditation. Any time we set aside the anxious preoccupations of the mind and pay attention to what is in front of us, we are practicing meditation. Any time we notice the color blue, we are meditating and can enjoy a wink of awakening.

 



  • http://nateorshan.com Nate Orshan

    So all those times my brother and I played “Punch Buggy” in the back seat, we were really just practicing mindfulness. Well, except for the punching part, of course…

Previous Posts

Getting Past the Tyranny of Should: A Timely Message for the Holiday Season
There are many things we "should" be doing around the holidays. We should be happy, merry, and jolly. We should be with family. We should be the consummate hosts. In the course of the day, we might impose expectations, rules, and agendas on ourselves tirelessly. This is the tyranny of should.

posted 10:36:45am Dec. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Finding the Fall Line: The Technique of Practice
As I was meditating this morning, I came up with a new practice metaphor. There were times when I was clearly in the flow of my body, very attuned the myriad body sensations and there were other moments where I was somewhere else or trying to manage some aspect of the moment, almost as if I was tryi

posted 10:13:53am Dec. 09, 2014 | read full post »

Prime Time, All the Time
An add for television streaming service Hulu states, "Every minute of every day should be considered prime time." This clever quip has a double meaning. On the one hand, it reflects the tyrannical notion that every experience that we have should be exciting, entertaining, and novel. On the other han

posted 9:31:08am Dec. 08, 2014 | read full post »

Giving Thanks 2014: Still a Lot to be Grateful For
There is not now, nor ever, a shortage of tragic, unjust, and violent events occurring around the world. The news media exploits these events and brings them into our brains 24/7 with an unrelenting insistence. Our nervous systems are vulnerable to these kinds of information. They signal danger and

posted 8:56:43am Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Buddhist Icon--Thich Nhat Hanh Recovering in Hospital
Beloved Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh (TNH) has experienced a severe cerebral hemorrhage and remains in critical condition. He recently had his 88th Birthday. I surmise that he is, along with the Dalai, Lama, one of the two most readily recognized Buddhist figures in the world today. Af

posted 6:27:39am Nov. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.