But once you get past the abstract stuff, it's about paying attention to the boring details - anything from washing your hands to listening to your own breathing - until they aren't boring anymore.
This is easy when you're in emotional pain and boring details are like a warm beach you want to lie face down on while the turbulent sea of your unmanageable life churns at the drag marks you've left in the sand.
But when life is pretty good and things are fun and you're having, as described in A Course In Miracles, "a happy dream", there's certainly less motivation to put down that newspaper or stop thinking about that do-to-list or even to stop congratulating yourself on the number of minutes you've been working out this time.
Mindfulness, as I understand it, can be lived every minute of every day of your entire life. But it takes enormous effort. At first, anyway. And then it becomes second nature. I hope. What inspired me to create the Remindfulness app was something Eckhart Tolle said. Not sure where - could have been "The Power of Now", or "A New Earth" or a few years ago when I heard him speak to a crowd of 2000 people at the conference center in Sydney. He said something like, 'instead of sitting in perfect meditation for two hours and then going out into the world and living the rest of your day egoically (is that a word? my spell check says no...) it's far, far better in terms of your spiritual development to return to the present moment for even just a few seconds, multiple times throughout your day'.
That really hit home with me.
That, and this second thing which I also believe Tolle said which was that we need to stop thinking of enlightenment as something to be attained at some future time. That the truth was we are all, most of us, enlightened for at least a second or two each day. The key is to expand on that, make those seconds longer and happen more frequently.
So, cut to a few years later and a head full of great spiritual concepts and I am not sure I have expanded on those seconds of enlightened mindfulness a great deal. Well, I just keep forgetting to! Life is so...busy and that "to do" is just too damn sexy. But what if this smartphone I spend so much time on could help me instead of distracting me?
During a meditation at a find-your-true-groove-in-life workshop/retreat run by the gifted Naomi Nonu-Carling (called "From Mainstream to Your Stream") the idea for the app was handed to me in its entirety - the name even coming in a moment later like I'd ordered it from some kind of quantum vending machine.
I'd never made an app before. I was a screenwriter, not a programmer. "Ding" the quantum vending machine plopped out a lead. One of the other participants in the workshop had a geography teacher daughter who had just lost her app-ginity creating a test-study app for students and I could tap her for guidance.
Well, it's been a long and wildly fun process making this app a reality. But it's also been challenging - to my skills, my patience -- and my purpose in even creating it! Imagine how many times I was stewing frustration over a bug that STILL hadn't been fixed...when one of my lovingly crafted reminders came popping up on my phone's screen instructing me to feel gratitude or send Love light to someone I was angry with. Grrrr. LOL. I had the thing set to deliver them every 5 minutes for most of the testing phase of development, in order to more quickly move through the process. It was sometimes HILARIOUSLY ironic, the contrast between what was on my screen and what was in my mind.
I found myself often longing to have the app DONE so I could just be the user and enjoy it the way I had always intended. It did not escape me that this was the ULTIMATE irony! Those challenging times are exactly what the app was designed to help keep me mindful through. I have to admit I often failed the (let's not call it a test...) the opportunity that the app presented to float mindfully through those times. Instead, I'd just promise myself that when the app was done...
Okay, so it's done. And I love it. And I'm proud of it. And now I have to use it - really use it - no more putting off the practices when they come up. I'm starting with 5 random reminders per day and random sounds. Wish me luck - and I'll see you back here to report how it's going! Highest and best (trying), Naomi