How to Be Mindful Watching Fireworks

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Meditation for Real Life

“When we meditate with our eyes open, we can become aware of visual details we often miss in our daily lives, and we also begin to notice how our environment affects our inner experience. This can help us feel connected to the world around us, as it becomes clear that we are in fact part of the environment we are inhabiting, rather than separate from it. Watching fireworks is a perfect time to practice amidst an onslaught of stimulation — from the powerful lights to the sounds, smells and crowds.” — Annaka Harris, a mindfulness teacher and the author of “I Wonder.”

As the fireworks are about to start, pay attention to your body and your breath. Notice how the sky looks before the show begins. What does that first explosion of light look like? How does it change the sky?

Once the fireworks are underway, try to follow a single bead of light falling in the sky. Do you notice the first moment it appears? Can you catch the last moment as it fades away?

Remember to feel your breathing from time to time. Is the rhythm of your breathing fast or slow? Is your inhalation deep or shallow?

You might also notice thoughts and emotions that arise. Try not to judge them — just allow them to be there as part of your experience alongside the sights and sounds, coming and going as a natural phenomenon, like ocean waves or passing clouds.

Now try widening your field of view to include the full display of dancing light. How is this different from following a single point, both in your visual experience and in your ability to focus? Do you prefer one over the other?

Continue to watch with a more expanded view or choose to go back to following individual sparks. Follow your experience closely — from the very first moment a new explosion of light appears, through all of the changes that take place as it rises, falls, fades and finally disappears completely.

Each burst of light is a delightful reminder of the ever-changing nature of our experience and is a new opportunity to practice mindfulness.