Once I heard a meditation teacher describe mindfulness as “coming to your senses” – by bringing your full and non-judgemental attention to what your body’s feeling, what you are seeing, hearing, tasting and smelling. In other words noticing everything the present moment offers to our senses. By getting out of your head and coming to your senses you leave behind the stories our thoughts are telling us about what’s going on and we arrive at a more raw and direct experience of what’s happening in the now.
Focussing on the now is not only therapeutic affording us reprieve from anxious or stressful thinking, it also brings us closer to the reality of any moment. You can give yourself a real holiday from the thinking mind and attend to the Zen like simplicity of noticing the singing birds, the scent of burning incense or even the shower water running over your body.
Shower time can be the prefect opportunity every day to come to our senses by perhaps feeling the temperature of the water or intimately experiencing the soap against our skin. Focussing on the sensual experience of a shower with your full and undivided attention is a gateway to clear and open awareness which brings peace and freedom to the moment, I call it Shower Zen.
Smelling the aromas of the soap, listening to the running water or the feeling of rubbing shampoo into your scalp are all delightful experiences to focus on and bring the practice of mindfulness into the shower, by disengaging from memories of the past, letting go of plans for the future and bringing a deliberate and focused attention to the now. If you are going to practise mindfulness, I think that you should keep your bathroom clutter free, the more things that your eye has to see, the more likely your mind is to be distracted. Creating an open space with simple colours (such as blacks, whites and browns) and lots of open space is the best way to keep it clear. It is recommended that you also have a shower glass panel so that you are able to see all of the room from where you are. Any unexpected noises may distract you from your mindfulness and being able to see the whole room whilst in the shower will help you to not lose your focus. Meditation in the shower is something that you have to get used to, and I believe this is the best way to get started.
Meditation does not always mean sitting still on the floor especially when it comes to mindfulness or concentration practices. Classically Buddha taught four times to practice mindfulness – when sitting, standing, walking and lying down which I think pretty much means all the time, so it seems reasonable to include when showering.
In fact shower time is a perfect time to create a mindfulness ritual and to include an active meditation session into your daily routine.
Shower Zen is a great way to get in touch with our bodies, literally, and without judgement learning to be comfortable in our own skin, embody the present moment and enjoy the simple pleasure that showering can be.
A shower is also a great metaphor for washing away the past and cleansing the mind, revealing the natural purity of bare and open awareness which is always there but sometimes covered with a bit of dirt we pick up along the way.
A shower can deeply cleanse the aura maybe it’s the negative ions produced by running water which are reported to have important health benefits or maybe it’s just the deep cleansing of running water through the etheric field; either way a shower can feel great and is a fantastic time to bring your complete consciousness to the present moment and receive all the benefits a mindful shower can bring.
It’s very easy to think of a million things while you’re showering, taking those few minutes to plan your day or go over the past events but the zen of showering is to not bring anything else into the shower with you, instead when you shower, just shower. Practising to be fully engaged in the present sensual experience of exactly what you’re doing and nothing else.