There is something very conscious about lifting a mug of cold water and pouring it over your head. Thought subsides and you become present in that moment.
For me, a bath is a rendezvous with liveliness. It refreshes me and induces me to activity, it takes away stress and leaves me positive.
I have a strong tendency to live in my mind. Thinking starts almost as soon as I get up. Although I am trying to live more consciously now, and manage a few moments of heightened awareness in a day, I have something or the other going through my mind for most of my waking time.
Once inside the bathroom, while I am standing there, looking at the bucket filling up with water from the tap, my mind often wanders away. I may start thinking about details of things I will do in the future, of what will I write in that next post, how will I bring about positive change in the consciousness of people in my parts… It all goes through my mind as the bucket fills up. Sometimes, I reduce the flow of the tap, or close it, to buy more time.
To finally pour water over myself, requires a conscious decision beyond the mere act, it demands a commitment to stay present. I have to realize that what I have been thinking of, was fantasy. I have to become lucid in that day dream. Finally pouring the water over my head marks my acceptance of the present.
Once I take the decision, I experience moments of intense mindfulness, it is beautiful!
If you want to get the most out of your bath, here is what you can try…
How to gain the most out of your bath…
Keep the water a little cooler than your body temperature. There is no competition, you don’t have to prove your ‘sufferance levels’ to anyone. Just keep it as cold as you can have a bath in. Let a little water run through your palms and feet. Now consciously make up your mind to recieve it over your head and let it flow…
Keep it a slow, gentle stream of water. Don’t crouch, don’t tighten up your muscles too much. Recieve it as a part of you and feel it running down and cooling your body. The first few moments are golden, there is total presence, there is a sense of calm and peace. You are totally mindful. This feeling, however, does not continue for long. When it starts waning, resist the urge to hold on. Let it go. If you use a soap, take it and gently rub it on your body. Smell it, feel the cleansing lather on your skin. Then slowly wash it off, trying to be aware of every movement you make, every small stream of water running down your skin. Gently pat yourself dry and come out.
You just completed a mindful bath!
If you loose consciousness during the bath(which will probably happen repeatedly) don’t get frustrated, don’t get mad at yourself. As soon as you become aware of the slip, observe your current thoughts and let them go, gently. Bring your focus back to the bath and continue. Again there is no competition here, you are not trying to prove anything. The aim is to enjoy as much mindfulness as you can, no more.
The thing is, you can be conscious while doing just about anything under the sun. The bath is an easy thing to begin with. It is very personal, you have no one to disturb you there(probably!) and it is conducive to a mindful, conscious state, it pulls you into itself.
Go ahead and try it. Happy bathing…