Are we cautious about Mindfulness?
We begin our month by calculating the number of holidays in that month. Our weekdays start with a longing for the weekends. Waking up every morning wishing the day had already passed. So, we can go back to sleep.
We’re working day and night, saving money to live our life after retirement. But many of us don’t realize that we forget to live during the process. We postpone our living to the retirement days.
Is it fair?
People have various responsibilities. The cost of living is steadily increasing. It cost a truckload of money to get a good education, health care, housing, and security. The societal expectation is increasing. Peer pressure is influencing our life. So, we think we don’t have any other alternative than to live like this.
Is there an alternative?
I am not talking about massive changes, like becoming a monk. Yes, we have a lot of responsibilities these days. We don’t have time to sit back and relax. But we can infuse small things into our daily routine to keep our mind to stay in the present.
The present is such a valuable moment. That’s why gifts are called ‘Presents’. If we unwrap them properly, we have a chance to live every moment, instead of waiting for holidays, weekends, and retirement.
What is Mindfulness?
In simple terms, it means ‘Being in the present.’
Jon Kabat-Zinn gives the one which I found to be more practical:
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
Now you may think ‘We are all in the present’. Yes, physically, we are. But being mindful concerns your psychological presence.
You may be driving a car but brooding about the football game, watching your kids playing in the garden but worrying about the office presentation. Cooking your favourite meal but wishing for a companion to share it.
Most of the time, our mind is stuck in the past or climbing the unknown future.
Going over the past memories, sharing it with our friends and family are okay. It shows where we’ve started our journey and reminds us to be humble. We should remember to correct the mistakes we’ve made in the past. So, we don’t repeat them in the future.
But worrying about the past brings no good to us. It disturbs our peace. It disrupts our concentration and steals our present.
Likewise, it is good to have an eye on the future. Where do you want to go, what should be done to keep the family financially safe and such. But overthinking about the future brings anxiety. It increases our insecurities.
So, what should we do?
Once a friend of mine asked me ‘Do you pay attention to yourself?’
I said, ‘what a stupid question is this?’
He encouraged me to answer the question. I replied, ‘All the time’.
Then he asked, ‘What is the color of your watch’s dial?’.
Well, I am a watch person. I don’t use my mobile phone to see the time. I see my watch at least 20 times a day.
Still, I couldn’t give him a confident answer. Was it grey or a blue tint?
Even though I’ve been using that watch for more than a year, I’ve never cared enough to notice the colour.
We are living in a fast-paced world. Our work efficiency is calculated minute by minute. It isn’t easy to concentrate on our life when our work consumes most of our energy.
Most people can’t afford to pay attention to the details in their life. To scrap out a decent living, many people all around the world are struggling with 1-2 part-time jobs.
Initially, we’d forget about being mindful. Mark it in your monthly calendar. Keep a mobile wallpaper that would remind you to pay attention. Buy a fridge magnet and place a note there. Stick to those reminders until it becomes etched in our conscious memory.
It doesn’t matter what you do. Whatever it is, try to give your complete attention. See with your eyes, hear with your ears, smell with your nose. Observe and process everything with your mind.
Our mind is a powerful animal. If we keep it in our control, it will do wonders. If we lose its leash, it will jump fences and drag us into trouble.
Now and then, test yourself by asking questions. It will improve your confidence, and you’d pay even more attention to your life.
We’d repeatedly come back to this point. ‘Living in the Present.’
Most of the time, we don’t live in the moment because we procrastinate. When we schedule our work and give them enough attention, there is no need to hurry through the day.
Now you may wonder. ‘Hey, all along you said, ‘Live in the moment’. But If we schedule our day ahead, how does that living in the moment? Isn’t that thinking about the future?’
Let me Clarify.
We should avoid thinking and worrying about the future. But we should schedule our day in advance to have a rough idea about what we are going to do and do them mindfully.
When we stick to our schedules, it reduces the uncertainties in our life. So, we can concentrate on our moment.
Listen to others
Nowadays, we are not listening to understand the other person. But to give a counter statement to their opinion. We don’t listen to them.
Listening is a difficult task. Our mind would start humming, jumping over other thoughts, worrying about something minuscule. At the same time, our face remains in the listening pose.
What we can try to be mindful of during these situations.?
Disagree with the other person.
Yes, you read me write. Disagree with the person. In a conversation when we are going to agree with someone, we don’t pay enough attention to them because we can nod and move on.
If you’re going to disagree with someone, you’d have to really listen to the other’s point of view. That would remind you to be in the moment. It would also increase the quality of the conversation.
But do not start to disagree with everything.
Drinking wine and eating potato chips on the couch while watching tv series. That is not the ‘Me’ time; I am referring here.
Take a long walk. If possible, choose a secluded place. Do not pace. Listen to the sound of the floor when you walk. Pay attention to your breathing, concentrate on the flapping of your arms.
This may sound like a waste of time. It is not an exercise regimen to lose weight or increase our core strength. Giving ourselves these moments would help us to focus. To tie down our wandering mind.
Mental strength is more important than physical fitness.
The Neutral Stance
Human beings are filled with emotions. Expressing our emotions makes us humans. But we lose our self-control during the expression of these emotions.
There is nothing wrong with expressing ourselves. But the intensity of emotions matter. If we give them too much power, on our bad day, it will hurt that much.
The same goes for our judgmental nature. We always try to segregate the things happening around as good/bad, likes/dislikes- categories based on our personal preference.
When we start doing that, we are going to see everything in black/white. Instead of looking at it that way, try to accept them as they are because we cannot change everything around us to suit our taste.
Instead of judging, accepting things brings us peace. It keeps our minds afresh.
Read a non-fiction book.
Most of us are comfortable reading fiction.
To practice being mindful:
- Go to your bookshelf.
- Search for that non-fiction you’ve kept putting off.
- Be it about engineering, math, designing, Economics, or even cooking.
Please read them and take notes.
And once you’ve finished considerable chapters, go over your notes and try to piece them together.
When you do this, you’d know where you’ve lost your attention and drifted away. You’ll know exactly how long you can keep your attention. The next time you repeat this exercise, you can try to increase your attention span for a longer time.
Keep in Mind – Being Mindful
Mahindra Singh Dhoni is the 1st person who comes to my mind for mindfulness. For those who don’t know him, he is the most successful cricket captain the game has ever seen.
He is notorious for his ability to remain calm and live in the moment. Win or lose; the result never affected him. Even when we have a good day, it doesn’t guarantee the result of the next day. It is going to pass and Every day is a new day.
Even with such a high-pressure job and expectations, he perfected his mindfulness. Instead of convincing ourselves about being busy, we can incorporate these changes into our daily life.
To achieve perfection, you need to practice mindfulness. You don’t acquire your inner peace in one day. Take 5 minutes off a day and concentrate on your breathing. Slowly inhale and exhale. Feel the air going inside your body. Switch off the TV and focus on your food. Don’t gorge down the food into your stomach unmindfully. Mindful eating and Mindful breathing are such an essential part of being cautious about mindfulness. It freezes our day and lets us focus on ourselves. You don’t have to allocate an individual schedule for learning mindfulness. You infuse them in your life, so it becomes an integral part.
Would you like to know what does your soul reading says about you? Here.
To learn how to lose weight by practising yoga, read this.