Beijing Mindfulness is about:
Traffic jams – during holidays when we know that coming back to the city means that cars stop for hours and the traffic stretches for kilometers. When drivers park in the middle of the street to deal with their own things, when underground gets so crowded that getting in or out becomes impossible. To be mindful during traffic jams means to be present and not to rush, to be here and now, to find connection with the feet, dissolve in space and time, to be timeless.
Hygiene – mindful listening reflects gently through the sound of spit and snort. We accept everything we hear and we find beauty in everything we see. Once a waitress handed me a dirty plate and when she saw it she wiped it with her hand. I looked at her with loving kindness – she went to wash the plate and gave it back with a smile. This is Beijing mindful exchange.
Food – mindful eating is not when you take selfies through the meals, when you put food into another’s plate even when they say they are full. You can mindfully eat duck feet or duck tongues, intestines, donkey balls or gluten filled Buddhist meals. Mindful eating helps us to know when dish has so much MSG that we need to stop at the first bite, it enables us to know in advance if food has been washed and if water has been boiled. Mindful eating in Beijing is easy to do and is best practiced with home cooked meals.
Pollution – days when one cannot exercise or leave homes, when skies are grey and lungs struggle, when headache is throbbing and chest is exploding. To be mindful on those days means to be aware of the choices we make and to compassionately accept the choice we made to live in this city. It is especially helpful to experience slowness on these days and to listen to the body. Pause each time your chest tightens, try to avoid taking painkillers to relieve headaches, slow down, rest and listen to the soothing music.
Human rights – situations when babies are run over by cars and nobody stops, when food is poisoned and babies die, when vaccines are infected and body’s immune system can only rely on it’s own resources. It is also practiced when color of the skin seem to matter. To be mindful in human rights means to be compassionate, connected with the community through loving kindness, allowing hearts to speak louder than minds.
Education – Beijing mindfulness helps us to connect with creative expressions, it signals our brain cells when the content is too much to handle. We know the only way to learn Chinese language is to be mindful: let go of the need to be anywhere else but here and now, in the unknowing mental state. Eventually words will start flowing and you will be so much more aware of how your body, mind and emotions reflect the culture.
Internet –the practice involves: mindful touching of the keyboard and mindful looking at the vpn status. Remember, these are not just simple physical activities, they also involve gentle observing of the emotional states, especially noticing how urges to break your devices rise and fall. Distract yourself with mindful breathing, except on a polluted day.
You can be mindful anywhere anytime. You can do it right here, right now. Be present, curious, open minded, compassionate, positive and hopeful in Beijing.