Mindfulness is a simple practice with seemingly limitless benefits. And, contrary to popular belief, learning it does not require sitting motionless for hours in the lotus position. You can in fact access it right now—and this little deck of cards is a convenient way to get started. Each of the 52 cards presents one of the exercises Zen teacher Jan Chozen Bays has developed for fostering mindful awareness among her students. It’s as easy as:
- Observing the sensations of eating
- “Checking in” while driving your car
- Taking three breaths whenever a phone rings
- Aiming to be on time to everything for a week
- Conscious smiling
- Relaxing your hands several times a day
- Resolving to pay a compliment daily
- Listening like a sponge
- And more
Pick a card a week and try it. Before long these small moments of awareness will accumulate to infuse your days with the wisdom and kindness that are the natural result of mindful living.
Jan Chozen Bays, MD, is a Zen master in the White Plum lineage of the late master Taizan Maezumi Roshi. She serves as a priest and teacher at the Jizo Mountain–Great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon. She is also a pediatrician who specializes in the evaluation of children for abuse and neglect.