Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Being mindful

Ginkgo. Sunlight. 

Living in the moment is something most of us find nigh impossible. We know it's good for us to do so, but generally we suck at it. It's like we're programmed (or society has programmed us) to always want more. Always be pursuing. Always be focussing on the next step. The next challenge. The next life goal. Career. Partner. House. Kids. Better house. More kids. More money. More stuff.

I do love that Dalai Lama quote that's been floating around the Internet of late:

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said:

Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

It's so apt isn't it?

Currently, I find myself in a particular place in my life where I very much need to be able to live in the moment and practice mindfulness. The future right now feels like an ambiguous one, I feel suspended, in limbo. For someone who has spent much of their adult life in relationships, always either trying to fix things or focussing on that "next step", it feels insanely impossible to shift my thinking and just focus on the here and now.

But slowly, slowly I'm getting there. I think. I hope. I have moments that are just good. Good for how they are right in that moment. Nothing more. Not as part of some grand plan. I'm going to hold on to those moments and cross my fingers I can master this art.



melissa said...

I am guilty of that. I hadn't thought of mindfulness in the big picture like that... I'm always thinking, planning, looking for the next step! I've slowed down this year, and it's been nice.

Good luck enjoying those moments for what they are, as they are right now. x

yardage girl said...

The one thing I've learnt about being in Spain for (almost) a year now ~ grand plans don't mean squat when it comes to understanding what/who/where makes you truly happy and content. I'm over grand plans. Simplicity and contentment are the new "plan". Nic x

Cally said...

Thanks Lara, I love that quote - I hadn't read it yet.

Laura said...

what a lovely, thoughtful post...thanks for sharing the quote and touching on a such an important (though tricky) point. to here and now! :)

Unknown said...

'Try to be mindful, and let things take their natural course. Then your mind will become still in any surroundings, like a clear forest pool. All kind of wonderful, rare animals will come to drink at the pool, and you will clearly see the nature of all things. You will see many strange and wonderful things come and go, but you will be still. - Achaan Chah - "A still forest pool" :: You have embarked on a wonderful journey Lara, one I have been on for a number of years myself. Enjoy!

sooz said...

Yes, yes yes!

And yet, and yet. I also want to achieve the kinds of things just moment to moment living can't bring.

The challenge for me is creating a space for both thinking and planning, but also a time for being present and feeling in the moment.

I think for example when I am in the dentist chair a little day dreaming and future planning is quite acceptable - it's remembering to switch it off that really counts. I need to do better at that.

I am enjoying mindfulness for beginners on audiobook too.

Cathy {tinniegirl} said...

I am walking a very similar path at the moment and thank you so much for sharing that quote. It is just the thing I need to write out and stick up in my studio to remind me every day.

Jenny said...

Very pertinent. I'm currently doing a course in mindfulness - it's simple, and yet... so contrary to how society seems to expect us to operate. I can't speak highly enough for training in mindfulness, tho. We learn amazing things about our brains, our patterns of thinking, feeling, reacting, every week, that it blows our minds!

So, you are on the right track, indeed. Well done!

Can I recommend the books of Russ Harris? He's an Aussie GP and mindfulness expert. 'The Happiness Trap' is ace, as is 'The Reality Slap'. Available online, or in the usual shops. I'm not affiliated to him in anyway, I am just so glad to have come across his books!

Blessings to you, Lara. From what I have read over the last however many years I've followed your blog, and the couple of times I've met you at I & S stalls, you are a delightful, kind, spirited, creative and big-hearted young lady (I can say that coz I'm older than you!).

One day at a time - five minutes at a time, sometimes - is enough.


Amber said...

I completely suck at mindfulness... I feel like all those years at school, uni (a science degree!) and work have programmed me to constantly think, analyse, plan, stress and generally feel frazzled. Too much right side of the brain action! So my current task is to try and use the left side of my brain more - the sensorial, creative side - and train myself to be more mindful. It's not easy to break bad habits though!

Anonymous said...

There's a wonderful (and free) podcast on Monash Uni website which takes you through a 20 minute "mindfulness" mediation session. Its available to all, don't have to be a student. Its under the psychology/student wellbing area. Enjoy your journey.

fede said...

Such a great post! I struggle with this daily... need to practice much harder. Will absolutely be placing that quote on my pinboard to read each day. Thanks for your wise words ;)

Anonymous said...

I try to be gentle with the things i do. Like when i shampoo my hair, i make an effort to feel the tip of my fingers running through my scalp, i smell the scent of my shampoo and i just enjoy the feeling. I think that doing things gently helps you be more mindful of the present. :)