Imagine your mind is like an ocean, sometimes it’s a rough stormy time and at others the ocean is flat and calm. It doesn’t matter what you are doing thoughts pass through your mind the weather at the ocean’s surface changes reflecting your current thoughts. Practicing mindfulness allows you to take a step back and raise yourself out of the water so you are not affected by whatever the weather conditions are like on the surface of the ocean. From this raised position you can just observe the changes in the ocean surface rather than be controlled by the weather, or actually your own thoughts.
It is important to remember that when you are focusing on being aware of the present that you use primarily one of your senses, sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Also make sure you change which sense you use so that you build up the skills and habits with all your senses. Just by maintaining your focus on one of your senses and what they are sending in the present has a calming effect on your brain.
Also remember that if your mind does wander, it’s okay, be kind to yourself, just bring your attention back to your sensing again with the same sense as before. Gradually you’ll be able to maintain the focus for longer and receive the calming effect for longer too. An example of focusing on the senses meditation is available later in the book.