The Art of Now

Have you heard of mindful exercises?

A while back a friend of mine introduced to me something called “Five minute mindful exercise”. It is not a formal meditation sort of things, but rather a type of grounding practice. At the time when my friend introduced this exercise to me, I found it quite foolish and unnecessary. But after I tried a few times, it was actually quite an enjoyable thing to do.

By definition, mindful exercise is a way to help you bring back your awareness of the present moment by slowly guiding you to re-connect with your senses.

In my observation of the modern world, most people do not have five minutes to just sit down and relax. When we are awake, our minds are always occupied by a range of thoughts that keep us busy all the time. Remember the meditation scene from Eat Pray Love where Julia Roberts attempted to meditate but was distracted by her thoughts on how to decorate the meditation room?


According to Aristole, humans possess five senses, as we all know, they are sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. The five minute mindful exercise requires you to focus your attention on each of these five senses respectively.

On each minute, you concentrate your attention on one of of these senses and try to engage as much as you can with this sense. It does not have to be in order.

With the sense of sight, you can try to notice the colors, shapes and textures of your surroundings; hearing, close your eyes and try to notice the different sounds around you; touch, feel the textures of the objects around you by focusing on the sensations and the pressure on your finger tips; taste, even if you do not have any nibbles near by, try to move your tongue around in your mouth and see if you notice any tastes around your teeth and cheeks; lastly, smell, now shift your attention to the smells of the environment.

Remember, you only focus on one sense during the one minute time, and then you move on to the next sense.

During this mindful exercise, you are truly noticing your senses, and after the five minutes of practice, you will be amazed to realise that there are lots of things you were unaware of before.

Did you hear the branches swaying gently in the wind? Did you notice the edge of your colleague’s table is so round? Did you notice the taste of the orange you ate and the coffee you drank in the morning is still inside your month? Did you notice the texture of your keyboard is so different from that of the your chair? Did you smell a breath of fresh air coming through the open windows or perhaps the smoky smell from your printer?

Stress is generated from our increasing thoughts over the past and our overwhelming concerns about the future, we often forget about the present which we live in. The simple five minute mindful exercise mentioned above is an incredible tool to help bring you back to the present moment by re-connecting your senses to the external world.

Homer Lao-Tzu_quote2
Homer Simpson as the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu


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