Mindfulness is "paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally." Jon Kabat-Zinn
Something that can help with this practice is "progressive muscle relaxation". (Here is a good primer on the practice.) Progressively tighten and then relax your body's muscles, one group of muscles at a time. You can this while being mindful of each of the sensations that result.
As part of your practice, try "urge surfing". When you feel an urge to do something, take an action, solve a problem, etc, explore that urge by paying attention to it. Let the urge be: delay acting on the urge long enough to fully experience it. Where and how does the urge manifest in the body? What emotions go with it? What does this urge feel like? Ride
it out for a while before acting on it. See what happens!
Once a week, I do sitting meditation with a group. But walking meditation is my daily practice of mindfulness. I start by silently chanting, one word per step: "Am I here? I am here. What is here?" Then I do an inventory of what is here, within and around me, as I walk. A tree. A bird. My urge to get home fast and make dinner. My urge to send an email to a colleague as soon as possible. The wind on my face. The scent of flowers. A car zipping past. That difficult conversation I had last week. All of these experiences, sensations, thoughts, memories, urges are here, in the moment, as I put one step in front of the next. I find this to be an effective but also difficult kind of mindfulness practice. It's particularly challenging because of the barrage of sensory input, and the difficulty of staying in "observer mode". When I lose attention, I go back to my inner chant: "Am I here? I am here. What is here?", one word per step.
Second assignment: 20 minutes a day, focusing especially on emotions that may arise – and on the ways they manifest in your body and breath. We have emotions all the time: this discipline involves watching them. When one arises, observe it with "high-resolution perception", as Chade-Meng Tan (Google's Chief Happiness Officer) describes it in his introduction to mindfulness practice, "Search Within Yourself". Observe the emotion, and its effects on the body, with openness and warmth. Let it play out naturally and then let it pass in its own time.
A mnemonic for what we're doing in mindfulness practice: RAIN: Recognize, Accept, Investigate, Non-identify. Non-identifying means moving from "I am sad" to "I feel sadness". How long does it take for you to move from sensing an emotion to being able to observe it in a conscious way, thus separating it from your core identity? For example, you become conscious that you are anxious. In that moment, can you look back and recall when the emotion of anxiety actually began - and how that anxiety manifested in your body? Very often there is a gap between the onset of an emotion and our full consciousness of it. It is this time gap that often brings us suffering and confusion. One of the fruits of mindfulness practice is shortening this time gap, giving us much more control over the way we respond to our emotions.
Fourth assignment: 20 minutes daily of mindfulness practice focused on your thoughts. What are the colors, textures, tones, and qualities of your thoughts? Which ones are "sticky" and which ones pass quickly? What form do they take: are they voices? images? What emotions are associated with them? Where do these emotions reside in your body?
At least in the context of mindfulness, wanting = having. To pay mindful attention to our desire for progress in mindfulness is to have a taste of that progress, if only for a fleeting moment. Savor your desire for this progress, as its own experience in the moment. Let it be a "seed" that you can trust to grow, in it own time and on its own terms. Mindfulness practice trains us to trust that our awareness of a problem or of a need for growth will activate our inner creativity and capacity for change. We don't need to solve problems, fix things, in the moment as we practice: we learn to trust that solutions will bubble up from within, when the time is right.
Final assignment: Mindfully attend to all that arises in your daily practice: bodily sensations, the rhythm of your breath, your emotions, your thoughts; directing love toward each of these experiences... staying open and accepting toward them, releasing them as they pass in their own time and on their own terms.