Mindfulness has momentarily become trendy and is growing ever larger in the public eye. Im not writing this blog post because its trendy though, I’m writing it because its an important, powerful and empowering idea. Living mindfully allows you to feel more fully alive, less anxious, to get a lot more life out of the days between now and the day you will die on.
Doing things on autopilot without having to focus all your attention on them is vital. Imagine if when walking you had to give all your attention to the complex process of moving forward. On how and when to move your feet and legs and hips to achieve each step. If you can drive, think back to when you first started to learn. I bet it felt really difficult to concentrate on what to do with the pedals, the steering wheel, the clutch and brakes and indicators, whilst simultaneously thinking about your route and monitoring the road and cars ahead. You’re probably glad that you can now do those things now without even thinking about them, even if you sometimes get somewhere unable to remember the journey which seems to have happened on autopilot.
Being able to do activities without thinking about them is necessary.
However many people spend too much of their day, their life in trance like autopilot. Every day they follow the same routines. They take the same route to the same places and do the same things. They see the same people and have the same conversations and patterns of thought. Occasionally a big event will happen, like getting married, having children, getting a big promotion. On those days they may feel fully alive, fully in the moment. Occasionally they will do something spontaneous, but mostly they live their life’s on hum drum autopilot. Days, weeks, months, years can zoom past on autopilot at a dizzying pace. Fear of change, a desire to conform, a desire for security these all tempt many into accelerating towards their death day whilst being less than fully alive. Brief glimpses of aliveness fall to the temptations of security, conformity, just getting thru each day. Anxiety about the future only makes secure, changeless existence more tempting in a desire to reduce that anxiety.
If you want to more fully experience your life, reduce anxieties and pursue happiness it is not always necessary to make drastic changes. You need to practise mindfulness, it is not enough to read and analyse you must do. Break routines. This could be as simple as changing your route to work, eating somewhere different, talking to new people with different attitudes to living than yours.
Every minute of every day is a constant stream of opportunities to react differently to your experiences. However you need to gradually train your mind to this realisation by breaking habits, by focussing on the present moment, by meditating and become aware to all the possibilities of each day.
Perhaps you feel trapped in a pattern of living, a rut. That is a illusion of your mind and you can increase your awareness to realise that at a deep level.
If you want to find out more about mindfulness I recommend getting hold of a copy of :
Mindfulness – a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world – by mark williams and danny penman. Enhanced edition includes guided meditations.
Ruby wax : if you want to free yourself from anxiety, then read this book.