How to gradually start being mindful?
Well that's it isn't it?
The answer is in the question. The beauty of the nonsense we tell ourselves is that as we become aware of it, it ceases to have power over us.
For example: I suspect that somewhere in the background you are harboring some notion that something will happen when you become sufficiently mindful - enlightement, happiness, perhaps something more subtle. I suspect also that you think (I'm not picking on you - I promise this isn't personal to you) something like 'being mindful is a place you get to, and then you know you are mindful....maybe other people will notice too and treat you accordingly - and once you are there that's kind of it - that's now who you are and things work out nicely after that.'
Bad news - It isn't like that at all.
Good news - It isn't like that at all.
It's good news because there's nowhere to get. Thus, you can't fail. You can't succeed either, but you can master the game (mastery is not an endpoint).
Thus the most self-aware / mindful thing to notice is when you are not being mindful.
"Huh. I was just lost in my mind for like fifteen minutes." As soon as you notice, you have the opportunity to return your attention to the present, regaining awareness.
You go to 'sleep' 2 seconds later - start thinking about your favorite movie - no problem! Notice that you went away - don't make it wrong or scold yourself - just notice - and then come back; ad infinitum.
As I said; mindfulness is not the end - it's not even the goal - I sometimes allow myself to flow along with my thoughts for long periods at a time - I like my thoughts. However, mindfulness allows for certain side effects.
The side effects of awareness include but are not limited to:
- Increased effectiveness
- Less time spent upset
- Hearing what other people are saying instead of what you say to yourself about what they are saying
- Increased capacity for ... anything.
- Less time spent indulging in self-pity.
In any moment, your access to awareness is recognizing that you are not aware.
To listen to people better - notice how you don't listen.
To meditate more effectively, notice what it is that pulls you from the present.
To be more compassionate - notice where you're being a jerk.
You have everything you need to work with wherever you are standing, because the only things there are to work with are what you bring with you.
By becoming aware of what is already there, you allow for the disappearance of what is there. When what was in the way is no longer in the way, you can move freely.
Mindfulness is not the 'mindfulness'.
'Mindfulness' is a word.
Mindfulness is emptiness.
Mindfulness is like a master gardner preparing soil for growth.
'Mindfulness' is like trying to plant in rocky, weed infested sand.