Last week, I had the opportunity to give a talk on mindfulness. I would like to share some of this with you, and perhaps go on a reflective journey together? So, over the next few days, you will see a series of posts that relate generally, to mindfulness and then a more specific exploration of some of the attitudes that are embedded in this way of being..HOW to BE in the world.
Have you ever driven from place A to place B and wondered how you got there?
Or tried to read a book, and read the same page 10 times without reading a word
Or unlock your phone and 10 minutes later, haven’t yet checked the time or the weather? which is what you started out to do? chances are yes???
This is the way of falling into habitual patterns and “mindlessness”
The nature of the brain and mind is that it looks to “conserve” energy. Just the way, you when you start driving a car you know what you don’t know (called conscious incompetence) until you do what you do automatically(unconscious competence), the brain formulates habit loops which actually drive our behavior. As much as this improves our efficiency, it can be done in a state of “absence”, impacting eventually, on being absent to our lives, as it passes us by. The nature of technology, high stress environments and demands of daily lives means that something must change – so that we can become present, awake and alive again to all that life has to offer us.
Unfortunately, this behavior is not inconsequential. Driving a car, or becoming wrapped up in your phone are just symptoms of mindlessness in a seemingly benign way.
How does mindless behavior impact you, as a person and in your roles? Constant reactivity to people, inability to manage stress, the doing mode versus the being mode. A certain automaticity – a fast pace rather than a slow, conscious deliberate choiceful behavior.
We are rarely present to the moment – like now. How many of you are here, really here. Are you perhaps thinking about the past – a conversation that you had with someone, or the future – the deadlines you have for work, emails, projects etc. Are you here, at this place – now?
Some of the deeper symptoms of “mindless” patterns in our lives are lack of focus and presence in daily life, inability to manage stress and constantly stuck in negative cycles in relationships both at home and work.
The good news is that we have the power to change this reactivity to responsiveness so that we have more CHOICE – to stay in touch with reality, to open to life as it unfolds, appropriate to what is happening, in the moment. This choice is deliberate and conscious. It is work. There is no quick fix. Are you ready to do this work – to be open to life, in a wholehearted way, which will ultimately impact your wellbeing? A move from “human doing to human being” (Kurt Vonnegut)
Below, a famous quote by Thich Naht Hahn, a buddhist monk, seems a harsh but realistic observation of how things are..
“Some people live as though they are already dead. There are people moving around us who are consumed by their past, terrified of their future, and stuck in their anger and jealousy. They are not alive; they are just walking corpses.”