"If you walk, just walk, if you sit, just, whatever you do, don't wobble." This famous saying by zen master Unmon explains the idea of mindfulness. It is about being present and fully aware of what we are doing in this very moment. Mindfulness is the opposite of multi-tasking. It puts our focus on the one activity we are carrying out at that very moment, and thus bundles our energy. Instead of being distracted by a multiple of thoughts, tasks and emotions, we are able to fully concentrate on each activity.
Stress arises when we or others expect us to achieve more than we can actually perform. Stress is aggrevated when we try to juggle all those different tasks having even less time and energy to accomplish each one of them.
Think about it like this: how good are your results when you try to cook, phone, email and watch the news at the same time as supposed to carry out each task separately and mindfully?
But it is not only about results it is also about the intensity with which we experience our lives. We live more fully when we use all our senses. So when you cook do you feel the fresh ingredients, smell their flavour and see their shape, colour and texture?
Mindfulness isn't some complicated, mystic practice it is rather a way of life that is more focussed, more rich in experiences and more truthful. It helps us to stay grounded, balanced and awake.
Our breath is a great tool to bring us back to that mindfulness. So we can use our formal and informal breathing practice to generate a greater awareness and alertness to what is happening in this very moment.