Washing your hands as a mindfulness practice

We are told that singing Happy Birthday twice is a good way to ensure we clean our hands for long enough to make it effective in protecting ourselves against Covid-19. It's a good idea but here's a few alternatives:


1. Feel what you're doing: try to actually notice the feelings on your hands as you wash. The warm water flowing over your hands and fingers. Notice the pleasure this gives you.


2. Notice the touch of each hand as it does the cleaning movements around the other hand, including at the wrists and between the fingers.


Doing this mindfully makes it a pleasure rather than a reuluctant task.


3. We can also bring awareness of the fact that the water is warm, and be thankful that we can afford a boiler. Not everyone in the world has such luxury, so we can feel compassion for those who don't.


Gratitude and compassion are two key components of a high-quality mind.


4. Likewise we can appreciate and be grateful that we live in a country which has sufficient resources - and the collective spirit - to have a water supply system that brings clean, pure water to virtually every building in the country.

Those of you who have heard me speak will know I mention this every time. I do so because water is the most precious thing we have other than air, but unlike the air, which is present everywhere, we have to find water, and it has to be uncontaminated. Our system ensures that we don't have to worry about finding water or whether it is pure or not.


I do this last practice in my head every time I take a glass of water. Gratitude, appreciation, and compassion for those who don't have it, all arise and are absorbed into my mind, improving my mood and making me a happier, kinder person.


So now you can do your hand-cleaning much more enthusiastically and gain a heap of benefits beyond the vital one of not spreading the virus.

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© 2019 by Martin Stepek.