Words by: Zayan Ismail

On one random afternoon, I was idly getting ready to head out whilst listening to Brandy’s masterpiece Never Say Never – there’s something soothing about 90’s R&B that always puts my mind at ease. I was at peace and enjoying my music, as I prepared myself to get out into the busy city streets. I often wonder whether listening to your favourite music is considered an act of meditation? The sense of peace when I grooved and swayed, makes me wonder, would Brandy herself consider writing music or singing to be a mindfulness exercise for her wellbeing? 

What is it about being mindful anyway? I have tried most of what’s prescribed in articles and books. Whether it’s just listening or meditation it didn’t matter to me. At the end of the day I completely surrendered myself to that moment on that random afternoon – to Brandy’s soothing vocals and her thought out lyrics.  

I am writing this as I sit on the beach on a hot and humid day. And as I wonder about different aspects of being mindful, I know for sure that writing is something that comes naturally to me and is a source of mindfulness practice. The way words flow through my hands and resonate with the people reading is something remarkable. Of course, I do rack my brain from time to time on what to write about  – they call it  writer’s block for a reason. Regardless, when I write, I escape into my mind, and further, into another world. Sometimes the worlds are many, and much like Alice, I embark on a journey into my own wonderland, where my mind can wander in all the possibilities of life. 

Like many others, I have tried meditation. Sitting still was not the most easy thing as I get restless (I like to blame my Gemini moon). I have now begun to resort to other means of relaxation. In 2023, mindfulness can come in the form of eating, taking a stroll in the park or on the beach, reading a book, listening to a podcast or some good music, cleaning your space, washing your dishes or just taking a nap. Research has found and stresses the importance of being more mindful of what we eat and put into our bodies. After all, we are what we eat, and we have to remind ourselves of adopting healthier options of consumption. 

Do I feel guilty for putting extra sugar into my coffees and teas? Yes, sometimes. But it makes me happy and that is an intricate yet important balance to learn as a part of being more mindful. I suppose it’s all about finding the niche for all of us, and adopting it into our daily lives so long as we don’t hurt ourselves. We cannot prescribe one true adoption of being mindful as our experiences are varied. 

The essence of meditation or mindfulness on the other hand, is to clean up your mind and appreciate the stillness of life. It aims to calm your worries, at least, for a moment. Easier said than done, but hey, from yogis to musicians, they all rave about it for a reason. With small and simple acts, you too can wonder about the mundane and feel at ease. What if you think a lot during moments of peace? Well thinking about life – what’s more mindful than creating random scenarios in your head or deeply ruminating over what could have been, or to move on and prosper in every opportunity you receive. I’ll give this a solid 8 out of 10 – it keeps me sane and helps me sleep  better at night knowing that it’s  someone else’s loss if they don’t like me. It’s important to  protect your peace. 

It helps us all to listen, be more accommodating of our own struggles and be a safe space for each other. I suppose in the end, being mindful is being kind and tolerant, to be grateful and perhaps even listing it down. How grateful I am to be able to write, and for you to read this.

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