Conservation programs have been with us for many years. The idea is to protect the loss of natural resources due to natural and human actions. Have you ever thought that safety programs are also a type of conservation program? In effect, safety programs’ purposes are to conserve human resources through education and prevention.
Our human resources are at risk each day due to various preventable factors. The leading cause of death and disability for Americans from childhood through mid-40s are injuries from preventable accidents. Unfortunately, we don’t give very much thought to safety until we or someone close to us is involved in some sort of mishap.
Since there are as many safety risks as there are workplaces, homes, and modes of transportation, there are many types of safety techniques to help prevent injury and death. Most of them include the advice to be aware.
Why not put an ancient philosophical practice to use to enhance our awareness? Why not use Mindfulness Practice? Mindfulness is not just for spiritual seekers anymore.
In traditional mindfulness meditation practice, there is a technique called “cleaning house meditation”. That is, the necessary tasks of maintaining cleanliness around the home are what the the meditator pays full attention to.
You may have heard the expression, “When you wash dishes, just wash dishes.” That is, you pay attention to every aspect of dishwashing. You feel the warm, soapy water on your hands, you notice the texture of each dish, plate, fork, spoon, knife, cup, and pan as they are cleansed. You pay attention to the sounds of dishwashing, the faucet, the splashing of water, the clanking of dishes and silverware, etc.
When practicing dishwashing meditation, you don’t listen to the radio, stereo, or glance at teevee or video sources. You do not engage in conversation. If the mind wanders from the task at hand, you gently bring your attention back to the process of washing dishes.
When you compare dishwashing meditation to accident prevention, the similarities are many and the benefits are instantly recognizable. Even the practice of dishwashing meditation is a safety practice. If your full attention is focused on what is going on in your interaction with the kitchen sink, you’ll be more aware of dangerous items like sharp knives, and fragile glassware.
It’s easy to understand how to adapt dishwashing meditation to house painting meditation. When climbing the ladder, full attention is paid to extension or unfolding of the ladder, placement of the ladder, climbing of the ladder, and being aware of one’s presence on the ladder.
When practicing house painting meditation, attention is paid to the placement of pans, cans, rollers, and brushes. This awareness is extended to the painter’s posture and whether or not the body is safely situated on the ladder or scaffolding. Not only will paying attention to the job at hand keep you safe, but the process of painting will be more satisfactory and will yield better results.
When we logically extend dishwashing or house painting meditation to other tasks and activities, it’s easy to see how anything we do can become more safe and productive. As dishwashing type meditation becomes habitual, tasks like driving a vehicle, riding a bicycle, tasks at the workplace and so forth become almost second nature.
If a person wants to participate in human resource conservation, safety is utmost. We can do the obvious things like obeying safety rules and consulting booklets. Plus we can apply mindfulness practice to what we do.
Happy National Safety Month.