To be mindful is to pay life such thorough attention that you glimpse the heartwarming beauty of all that is. With mindfulness, you don’t just do what you’re doing: you become what you’re doing. And when one task or conversation is finished, you move on to the next with the same attentiveness, the same conviction.
A mindful person is a blessing to everybody else because he or she is fully present. So often the person we’re talking with on the phone is also writing an e-mail or brewing the coffee. This doubling up is how we get things done. But when you focus on someone to the exclusion of everything else, you give something rare and eloquent.
Choosing a vegan lifestyle is one way to live mindfully. Instead of simply eating what’s available, or what we’ve eaten all our lives, or what our taste buds think is the cat’s meow, we choose to consume foods and beverages that we believe to be best for our bodies and that we know show compassion for animals. We’re mindful of our food and we’re rewarded with gifts such as peace of mind, improved health, and perhaps even longer life.
We all want to live long and well, and yet an unwillingness to be fully aware takes hours, days and years from our lives. You don’t need to lose another minute. And you won’t, as long as you’re willing to be completely aware of this one. Just pay attention. Be in the experience without judging it or naming it. Be in it as you’d be in the water if you dove into a pool.
If non-stop mindfulness, like St. Paul’s “Pray without ceasing,” is too much, do your best to be mindful at least once every day. That’s all. Once a day, give another person your undivided attention. Once a day, look at a flower and see the petals and the leaves, its strength and delicacy. Once a day, focus on the heat from the sidewalk, the breeze from the fan, the wetness of a glass of water or a shower or a swim. When you do this, you learn to be in life instead of just passing through. This slows it down and fleshes it out. It makes you a blessing, yes, but is also makes you blessed.
Victoria Moran is known for her books on veganism – The Love-Powered Diet, Main Street Vegan, The Good Karma Diet – and on practical spirituality: Creating a Charmed Life, Living a Charmed Life, Lit from Within, and Shelter for the Spirit. She is an Oprah veteran, a former Sirius/XM radio host, and she currently hosts the weekly Main Street Vegan radio show/podcast on Unity.FM.