"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot." This is an interesting quote by Michael Altshular related to time management that allows us to reflect on a number of factors about the way we cruise throughout the day. It's a reminder that we need to play a more active role in planning and steering ourselves towards chosen destinations. By being the pilot, therefore we're more in control, present, aware and mindful.
Yet more than ever, our lives are filled with examples contrary to this philosophy. How many times have you been driving to a particular destination and upon arrival, you experience a strange time lapse in which you can't remember how you got there? You're sitting with a friend, but can't really focus on what he's saying because you're distracted by the email you need to write. You start eating something but leave it half way because the phone rings. These are just some of the many examples of mindlessness that we may experience throughout the day, where our system operates on auto pilot because the captain of the ship is busy mentally entertaining guests such as worry, fear, anxiety, insecurity and other thinking traps that either pull us too long into the past or future, robbing us of the present.
The result of this abduction or not being mindful as referred to by a number of spiritual philosophies is that we might miss the many significant positive details about our life. We've been programed to be vigilant and aware of other stimuli in our environment as a protective mechanism, however somewhere along the way, this trait has gone into turbo boost, and overridden our usual tendency to engage in the here and now.
Sometimes these concepts seem more like fantastic philosophical principles that we try and at least understand, let alone apply to our daily lives, because they can be quite abstract and unattainable. With that in mind, I would like to share a series of "mindful moments" so that you're able to practically feel connected to whatever instances you're part of rather than feeling fragmented and pulled into different directions.
This process and practice starts with getting a one-way ticket to where you are, focusing your attention and concentrating on your environment, acknowledging how you're feeling, clearing your mind of other vehicles that are trying to transport you away from that scene. Now this shift in perception is a practice that you can apply to a wide range of moments in which you can try and be more mindful, such as:
• When a friend or family member is sharing a grievance with you -- listen with your heart, eyes and mind. Your mobile can wait.
• When someone is paying you a compliment -- pause for a moment and let the compliment sink in.
• When you're feeling disappointed and deflated -- remind yourself of all the reasons you should be grateful.
• When you're anxious before a presentation -- focus on that anxiety as being fuel to increase your energy and enthusiasm, rather than perceiving it as fear.
• When taking a shower -- reflect on the way the water feels against your skin, the aroma of your cleaning products and the sense of renewal that envelopes your being.
• When making small talk with a stranger or acquaintance -- ignore that voice in your head that might be whispering, "I have nothing interesting to say!" You're full of interesting stories, just be mindful about wanting to share them.
• When you have no plans on the weekend -- instead of feeling lonely, be mindful of the gift of relaxation that you've been given.
• Standing in a queue -- no need to feel agitated or angry, that's not going to make the queue shorter, it'll just make the time pass slower. So escape mentally to a far off fun place until your turn comes up.
• When listening to gossip -- listen and advise constructively rather than just being swept away by someone else's toxic remarks.
• When you're passing judgment -- ask yourself what evidence do you have for your assumption?
• Commuting to work -- what a great time to reflect on your day, listen to an audio book or just reflect on the views that you may have previously ignored.
• When playing with your children.
• When you're thinking "Why me?" don't get caught up in personalizing or victimizing yourself. Acknowledge, accept and move forward.
• When you're eating a beautiful meal -- each morsel and spice has travelled far and wide to create that delicious meal. Give it the attention it deserves so that you can show respect to the cook and flood your system with delightful food and feelings.
Now instead of just skimming this article, mindfully read it again, allowing the ideas to be processed more effectively. You may even be intrigued enough to reflect on what else you could be more mindful about in your life.
Remember, learning more results in living more... over to you.