Daily Life Mindfulness (without meditation)

Daily Life Mindfulness (without meditation)

For people to whom meditation seems too “airy-fairy,” hippie-like, ephemeral, not tangible. Being mindful is appealing but without the “mumbo-jumbo” of meditative practice. In this case, it is not mandatory to “meditate” per se. Instead, we may use this as method: cultivating heightened waking awareness of the phenomena surrounding us, e.g below I outline a strictly phenomenological approach.


When we speak of “space,” we mean not only the personal space surrounding our physical bodies, but also our sense of boundedness, permeability, and porousness–including ease of interpersonal attachments. How do we relate to the space within our home? The geographical distance between us and loved ones? Do we have a tendency to claustrophobia and love wide, open spaces? Do we prefer to be cocooned within a tight environment and feel safe as a result? Do we seek the beach and water, the trees and woods, or pavement in the city? Do we tend to look up or down when we move? How would you describe your sense of direction? What is key for you in your home, e.g. light, color, sound, texture, etc.? What do you associate with privacy and how important is it? How do you respond to touch from non-intimates, e.g. handshake, pat on the back, etc. In what position do you prefer to sleep vis a vis your partner, e.g. face them or not? Touching them or not? Why and why not?


The notion of time is both useless and useful. It depends on our manipulation of it. As ordering concept and mechanism, it works well for compartmentalizing linear discrete periods. Daily Life MindfulnessIt’s also convenient for planning, organizing, remembering. In imagining our day, we peer through a microscope. In reviewing our life-time, we look through a telescope. In doing the latter, we may extend the reach of time, e.g. the generations before and after us–or the expanding Universe, and see ourselves within this infinite span of time. How do we relate to the finite within this larger context of the finite? Are we comforted by our tiny blip or struck by anxiety? We hold time as a rubber band, stretching and contracting at will. Our relationships with time informs multiple aspects of our lives, e.g. do we procrastinate and if so, why? How much vacation do we need to feel “rested”? How much sleep? Do we consider ourselves “morning” or “night” people? Are we habitually punctual or tardy and, if so, why? What value do we place on spending time with ourselves versus with others? What is our relationship with this construct? How do we experience it? What is our personal history with it?


Movement includes our wishes/preferences/desires for where we locate ourselves, e.g. where we live, how we get to places, our finding places for ourselves. Notably, our moving from point A to B . . . do we walk and if so, how do we do it? With a rush and purposive thrust? Or leisurely? Do we attach to places or move about freely? How much and where do we like to walk? To drive? To navigate the planet? What is the ideal distance of your commute and why? Are we fluid with our bodies or jerky? How do we relate to our inner momentum and movement? Do we chase change or resist it, e.g. when the seasons shift, are we quick to bring out the sweaters or linger with our shorts? Movement from without mirrors motion within.


Connectedness refers to the value we place on affiliation. We long to be a part of a larger whole, but this varies, e.g. do we hang out with those who share our interests and hobbies? Must they share our political or religious views? How patriotic are we? Must our group share our sports team, our economic strata, our appearance? Our ethnicity or geographical location? Our profession? What are our criteria for inclusiveness? How key is exclusiveness for us? How much commonality must we experience in order to value the relationship? Is family a sufficient criterion or do we require friends to feel fulfilled?

Have we been in or are we in love? Is monogamy key for us? Is sexual fidelity a requirement? Have we felt emotionally attached to someone other than our partner? Do we want biological children? Why or why not? Do we see ourselves as part of a “traditional family?” In terms of filial connectedness, what would it mean to adopt a child?

How do we connect best with another? Face to face, letters, or phone? Will Skype and video be sufficient–why or why not? As maintaining friendship, how useful is email to us? Do we have difficulty connecting on a meaningful level? How often do we need to see and/or talk to someone in order to feel close? Do we have a “best friend” and what constitutes such for us? Rather than a few close friends, do we prefer a wider circle? How long a conversation is ideal with a confidante–ten hours or ten minutes?

Dr. Ranjan Patel Marriage Family Therapist 1 (650) 692-5235