Thursday, June 4, 2015

O.H.M.'s Top 5 Tips for a Mindful Existence

In our crazy modern world with all of its distractions, we are forever being pulled away from our Present, our Truth, and our Now. 

It's nearly impossible these days to live a truly mindful life. That's why O.H.M. is--as always--at your service with these five tips for a mindful existence:

1. Meditate & Breathe: Meditation and breath are the first steps to mindfulness. Listen up. Here's what you do: Sit very still, like the Statue of Liberty, for five minutes each day. Except not exactly like The Statue of Liberty, because she's standing with one arm in the air holding a torch. Fine, you can do that instead if you think it helps. But whatever you do, don't blink. If your eyes start to water, just let the tears flow. Remember, you're not sad. Well, maybe you are sad. But that's not why you're crying right now. You're crying because your eyes are very dry from not blinking. OK. Now. Close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Think about how you only have a finite number of breaths to take on earth. Tell yourself those breaths are better spent meditating instead of running up and down in place on a stair-master or yelling obstreperously at an agent for Avis rental cars.

2. Practice Wakeful Living: You know how in the movies whenever someone gets shot or is drowning in a frozen lake, there's always a guy trying to save him who keeps yelling: "DON'T GO TO SLEEP! DON'T GO TO SLEEP! STAY WITH ME NOW!"? Keep thinking about that. Eventually, a nice, handsome-but-not-too-handsome policeman will arrive, and before you know it, you'll be drinking a hot cocoa under a stiff, military-issue gray blanket in the back of an ambulance. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Unless you actually have been shot or are drowning in a frozen lake, in which case you've got much bigger problems. If you haven't been shot and you aren't drowning in a frozen lake, and you just find your mind wandering to your string of asshole ex-boyfriends, the enormous girth of your ass, and/or any of your other millions of petty and meaningless problems, pull yourself back into Wakefulness by pinching yourself very hard four times on each nipple. 

3. Resist Temptation's Urges: If you're anything like me, you're human. Which means you have urges. For example: you might have the urge to drink a Diet Coke and double Jack Daniels at noon, consume large quantities of pills, chain-masturbate, microwave a tube of Pillsbury cookie dough and eat it with no utensils while it's still in log form, and/or surrender to the vast chasm of glowing screens at your disposal rather than engage with your Present, your Now, or your Truth. You don't have to act on these urges. Just sit with the feeling of not acting on at least one of them, until the next one comes along. Sort of like a Lazy Susan at a Chinese Restaurant, or if you've ever eaten dim sum in Chinatown and the pork buns look OK but you're holding out for the scallion pancakes. Because let's face it: anyone can say "no" to a pork bun, but it's way too fucking hard to resist the scallion pancake. Again, metaphorically speaking. Also literally speaking if you're actually eating dim sum at that particular moment in your Now.

4. Find Acceptance, Modify Your Expectations, and Learn to Live With Discomfort: A mindful life requires acceptance, modifying your expectations, and learning to live outside your comfort zone. Surrender to the flow of viscous shit that always seems to be moving slowly downhill toward you, and embrace your life for the quagmire that it is. Remember when your kindergarten teacher told you you could be the President of the United States someday? Well, that was bullshit. You don't have a Super PAC and you're not a giant megalomaniac. Ok, maybe you are a giant megalomaniac. But you're not smart or connected enough to be POTUS. However, you can be PRESENT! For example: think about the blister your cute new shoes are forming on the back of your heel. I mean really feel it. Accept it. Let go of the expectation that these foolish, expensive shoes will ever be "broken in." Stop trying to change them. They are what they are; they will never be comfortable. But they are very cute! Three people have already said so today, and it's not even noon. So there's no need to return them to the store. You must learn to live with them as they are.

5. Be Grateful and Cede Control: You know how everyone, everyday, is telling you to be grateful and cherish the living shit out of everything around you? No? You must be listening to The Killers too loudly then. Take those earbuds out of your ears. Think about how bad you feel for not being more grateful for the things you have, such as your health and your loved ones, both of which The Universe could yank from your grasp at any moment and without explanation. Think about how someone else always has it worse, and how you are an evil person for not hearing a loud, constant hum of gratitude singing through your soul at all times of day and night as if gratitude were two frisky neighbors having sex and your soul was the living room in which you're trying to get some work done for fuck's sake. Specifically, think about this when you're driving down a deserted, winding country road at high speed late at night in a used car that's due for a brake job and possibly an oil change. Let go of the steering wheel. Now raise both hands in the air like you were on "Batman: The Ride" at Six Flags Great Adventure. Set your cell phone camera on the dashboard to take pictures just like a real roller coaster. Then see what happens. Be grateful if you survive this exercise, because it will shift your entire perspective to the Now, the Present, and the Truth of Who You Really Are.

Photo credit: Self. Filter: Valencia

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