Thoughts raced in my head. Questions went zoom…..zoom……
Why? When? How? What?……………
I drove twenty miles from home to work. Unconsciously I lived so much in my head that I didn’t realize I drove twenty miles until I reached my destination.
Life went on. I walked, ate, read, and finally lived ….. all of that without realizing I were doing all these acts.
One evening, I realised I was thinking. More than what was required. My thoughts were going around in vicious circles. All that thinking was going to drive me crazy. I didn’t want to think.
How do I stop thinking?
I started off with breathing. Consciously. In and Out. Whenever I knew my thoughts were taking over, I brought my focus back to my breath. To be there. In the now. When life unfolded.
In one word….Mindfulness. I’ve made my choice, to live mindfully.
The term “mindfulness” is derived from the Pali-term sati, “mindfulness”, which is an essential element of Buddhist practice, including vipassana, satipaṭṭhāna and anapanasati. Mindfulness applications are widely popular in therapeutic programmes.
Jon Kabbat-Zinn, an internationally known Mindfulness Teacher created a program MBSR (Mindfulness based Stress Reduction). Mindfulness is not only a practice restricted to therapeutic programs but is a tool to live more meaningfully and remembering to be aware. Mindfulness is a way of connecting with our lives. It involves cultivating attention in a particular way.
As Kabbat-Zinn explains, Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgementally as if your life depended on it.
So… let’s pay attention and observe…. What’s happening?
Our minds are all over the place. We have thoughts either about the past or about the future. And what happens? The present moment is gone due to the preoccupation with the future or the past. The only time we learn anything, express any kind of emotion, touch, smell, taste or feel is “NOW”. In the now… non- judgementally focusing one’s attention on thoughts, sensations and emotions.
Here is my favourite piece from teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh;
“If I am incapable of washing dishes joyfully, if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have dessert, I will be equally incapable of enjoying my dessert. With the fork in my hand, I will be thinking about what to do next, and the texture and the flavour of the dessert, together with the pleasure of eating it, will be lost. I will always be dragged into the future, never able to live in the present moment.”
What more needs to be said. How in the rush to achieve something, we lose those moments in the journey.
Breathe!! You are alive.