Ending the Rat Race!
Free image on Pixabay
If mindfulness means moment to moment awareness, without judgement, then the opposite ‘mindlessness’ means spending each and every moment without awareness of what is before us. To be mindless means to be so attached to our thinking that we are immersed in it. All day long we are moving from one activity to the next. We are activity seekers. So much so that we feel guilty if we pause. No wonder, stuck in this rat race, our bodies give up and we begin to feel the stress. I watch my ten-year old on weekends as he goes from one activity to the next, Tennis, Wi-U-, Math’s homework, reading, handball, TV! I often have to remind him to stop and do no-thing. And then he will grumble as he stops but after a few minutes I notice the change. He calms down and feels more grounded. More connected with his body.
As I write this article, I have a cup of tea I drink from and I have to remind myself to stop all writing and all thinking and focus fully on the act of taking a sip of my tea. And in that moment I can notice my tea is warm, it smells nice, I can feel the sip moving down the back of my throat into my belly. I listen to the birds chirping and I feel alive and joyful. I can take a mindful breath and then I resume my writing.
For that brief one minute, I took a break from my thinking mind. This mind can only do one of four things at any given moment: memory (re-living of a past event), planning (for the future), creativity (working on a current project), or judgement (judging something or someone). The mind believes if it doesn’t plan or think it will die and rightly so! The Ego (false identity with self) dies in that moment when you let go of thinking and focus on what’s real, what is alive and what is here around you!
‘The NOW is Life itself
Life can only be in the NOW!’
5 Mindful tips for your day:
1. Connect with the present moment:
In the midst of your doing, take some breathing space. Consciously connect with the movement of your breath in and out of your body. The breath is always in this moment. Here and NOW!
2. Practise gratitude:
We all have our to-do lists. And we all want to achieve all our goals NOW! As my teacher (who has OCD) gently pointed out to me, if she can get 3 things done on her list, she has achieved something and is happy about it. So give yourselves a pat on the back if you too get 3 or 4 things accomplished on your list.
3. Dis-attachment to form:
Establish a regular mindfulness of meditation practice. Not only does it teach you focus and attention, it also enables you to dis-identify from your mind stream and negative thinking. And you learn the important lesson of impermanence, i.e. that your thoughts, sensations and feelings are all temporary. You can then begin to bring this quality in your daily life and apply it to issues that seem very important to you Now. In particular, not becoming attached to your activities or to who you are or are not when you engage in them or do not engage in them!
Accepting each moment as it is, accepting when you can’t achieve everything on your list, accepting that your body needs a rest, accepting that everything is transient and temporary and allowing your day to unfold exactly as it is unfolding. This acceptance takes the pressure off performance allowing you to relax, trust and be in the flow. Accepting all the feelings and thoughts coming up allows you to be more authentic.
5. Loving Kindness to yourself and to others:
Recognising that we all have our burdens to carry and connecting with the essence of who you truly are allows you to see the perfection in you and in others and in each moment of your day.