By Leo Babauta

Earlier in this meditation course, I talked about how to expand your meditation practice to other parts of your day. Today I’ll go a bit further into that topic, and talk about the hardest part: remembering.

First, let’s expand our definition of meditation — is it sitting and paying attention to the breath or body? That’s one form of meditation, yes. But actually, paying attention and being aware, being conscious — that’s something you can do during any activity.

So let’s say that our entire life can be meditation. All day, every day.

Of course, during some of that meditation, our minds will wander, just as it does during sitting meditation. So the practice will be to come back to the moment, to wake up from the dream, as often as we can remember.

The trick is remembering. The way you get better is practicing.

Let’s explore remembering to be aware.

How to Remember

The trick for remembering is creating triggers that remind you to be awake. This, of course, takes a good amount of effort and time, which is why we’re not focusing on this for this module … but it’s something you can start doing as we wrap up the month, and beyond.

What can be a trigger for remembering? Anything. Here are some good examples of mindfulness bells:

You get the idea. Anything you want can be a reminder, but you have to consciously decide that it’s going to be a reminder, and then make that happen.

How do you form these things into triggers for mindfulness? Here’s what I suggest:

  1. Pick one of the above triggers (or your own), and consciously decide to form that mindfulness trigger for the next few days.
  2. Put a visual reminder next to that trigger if possible — for example, a note next to your shower door, or a meditation cushion as your phone’s lock screen, or a stone next to your kitchen sink or at the table where you eat. Some of the above triggers (other people’s eyes or voices
  3. Whenever you see this trigger, see how long you can be mindful during the activity that follows it.
  4. Repeat this as often as possible for at least a few days, but a week is even better, before adding another trigger.

As you can see, it will take time. And you’ll forget, a lot. That’s OK. You don’t have to be perfect, but the constant exercise of remembering that everything is part of your life meditation practice will transform your life.