The Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh does teach formal meditation practice, but he focuses just as much on staying mindful of the present moment as we engage in activities of everyday life, from brushing our teeth to making the bed to washing the dishes. In The Miracle of Mindfulness he offers several exercises in mindfulness. Many of them start with the instruction to “half-smile”—a wonderful practice in itself. Try a half-smile and see how your mind and body immediately relax and how a touch of serenity arises. Here are two of Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindfulness exercises, which you can easily apply in your own life:
Half-smile while listening to music. Listen to a piece of music for two or three minutes. Pay attention to the words, music, rhythm, and sentiments. Smile while watching your inhalations and exhalations.
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