Mindful of WHAT?
DEM: Whenever I walk down the hospital corridor from the tea room to the emergency department, I try to remind myself to “be mindful”. I straighten my posture, breathe more slowly, focus my attention. Then I turn the corner and walk into the barely-controlled bedlam of DEM, and mindfulness is shattered. Faced with the intensity of noise, action, and people in pain, my attention is pulled in a hundred directions - and later I wonder.... what should I be mindful of in this situation?
ZEN: During zazen, a simple sitting meditation, I focus on my breath. When I do walking meditation I focus on how my feet encounter the earth as I arrive in each moment. It should be easier to stay mindful in quiet, peaceful surroundings, you would think. At least I have something simple to focus my attention on. Even so, there are hundreds of distractions lurking in the constant stream of my thoughts. Today I am haunted by the colour of a mother’s eyes as she begged me to tell her that her son would be okay.