Friday, September 04, 2015

Practice being here now: Day 2: Mindfulness Challenge


The mind is a time traveller, I am convinced. My own experience proves it. My thoughts are constantly dancing around like a dry piece of hay in the wind. 

At one moment, my mind might dwell on what happened yesterday, whether pleasant or unpleasant, the next moment, I might find myself in the distant future imagining an alternative life. A few minutes later, I may be back into a long-gone yesterday, wondering why things happened as they did, and how things might have turned out had I taken another road in life. 

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? 

We're all like that. We all find it difficult to focus on the here and now. To be fully present in the moment and place in which we are. 

We wake up in the morning and as soon as we are fully awake, our thoughts spin off. We begin to think of what we must do today, what chores need tackling, which deadlines are breathing down on us. We think of what went wrong yesterday, or right, and how it might influence our relationships and lives today.

When does our mind ever remain still and mindful of just that one moment?

If you don't believe what I am saying, consciously follow the train of your thoughts and see what a mad roller coaster of a ride your thoughts are always on. The only way you might stop that from happening is if you were to attempt to work towards mastering your thoughts and emotions.

A spell of deep breathing, I discovered some time ago, can do wonders for silencing those feelings of restlessness and filling me with a sense of well being, of being cared for, of being looked out for.

It's simple really. Just sit with your back erect, hold your breath to the count of 3, then release to the count of 5. Do this for 2-3 minutes, about 5 times a day. Start slowly, and increase the frequency of your deep breathing exercises. 

This exercise helps you to be aware of every breath you take, and hold. It subdues all the rebellious thoughts, and calms you into realising that this moment is enough.

A little imagining and ruminating on the past and the future is natural, no doubt. It can also be helpful sometimes; each of our thoughts and actions does have a bearing on our lives, and it is good to dwell on them occasionally. But spending too much time on thinking about anything other than the present can hinder us from taking advantage of what this day, this moment has to offer. 

And that is a loss. For this moment will not come again.

Hopefully it will help quell all those out-of-body trips that my mind seems to relish taking.

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