How much time do you spend in your mind?
I have spent quite a bit of time in my mind, and have realized that I am more fully alive when I am NOT living in my mind.
It’s good to rationalize and make the best choices you can, but it’s even better when you can make those choices without thinking too much. This takes practice…
Would you like to live a more present life, being more in the moment & less in your thoughts?
“The birth of the mind is the death of the senses,” says Dan Millman, but it is by living through our senses that make us feel most alive. This is why many people drink alcohol or do drugs; it is because they want to escape their thoughts & live more in the present moment. Well you can reach this state of mind without the use of drugs or alcohol.
So how can we get back to living through our senses in a healthy way?
Through Mindfulness Meditation: Defined as “Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
We live in a world where distractions are all around us. The cell phones we carry with us at all times may be our biggest distraction; they have the ability to make you anticipate a text or call, bring you social media updates, or give you some “important” news. I keep my phone on silent 90% of the time and have most of my notifications turned off. I rarely watch the news because most of it is there to put fear into its watchers.
So in this World of technology & constant distractions, how can we make time for practicing Mindfulness Meditation?
To begin, you don’t need to make time for practicing Mindfulness Meditation. You can practice it in the morning as you wake up, on your commute to work, during work, and at any moment during your day.
Example of practicing Mindfulness Meditation:
It is nice to take a specific amount of devoted time for Mindfulness Meditation, but when you are just beginning you should try to practice it within your already established daily routines. The next time you are commuting to work, practice observing the things around you. Get into your senses. Don’t think about what you are seeing, see. Don’t think about what you are hearing, hear. Don’t think about what you are feeling, feel. Don’t think about what you are smelling, smell. Taste.
Don’t label the traffic as “good” or “bad,” allow it to be as it is; see it & hear it. Don’t label the weather or other drivers, just observe them, letting go of your thoughts & tapping into your senses. It’s simple, but we make it difficult.
As you practice this, there will be a tendency for thoughts to arise, and they will. Be patient with your thoughts. Hear them in your head and then go back to observing. Take a deep breath when needed, putting your focus on your breath and then your surroundings, free of judgment.
“Turn on, tune in, drop out,” said Timothy Leary. There are many interpretations of this, but it can also relate to Mindfulness Meditation as you are dropping your thoughts & tuning in to your senses.
“You’ve become bored to things because they exist only as names to you. The dry concepts of mind obscure your direct perception.” Dan Millman
Millman also discusses this state of mind as Satori, “which is the warrior’s state of being; it occurs when the mind is free of thought, pure awareness; the body is active, sensitive, relaxed, and the emotions are open and free.”
Reading Dan Millmans, Way Of The Peaceful Warrior, has helped me get more into this mindset.
Getting into the present moment helps us stop dwelling on past thoughts, and to stop anticipating the future. Millman says, “Stay in the present. You can do nothing to change the past, and the future will never come exactly as you plan or hope for. The warrior is here, now. Your sorrow, your fear & anger, regret & guilt, your envy and plans and cravings live only in the past, or in the future.”
Overall Mindfulness Meditation is when you look at everything surrounding you without labeling it or judging it. You don’t look around & think “I see a chair, a cup of water, a tree. I’m tired. I need more money.” You just sit and observe, letting go of thoughts as they arise. This requires practice as all great things do, but it can be done! You don’t need to drink that 6 pack of Bud Light each night to relax. Dilly dilly. Drink in moderation sure, but this mindfulness practice can help you live more fully in a healthier way.
Again, don’t judge your thoughts as they arise, be patient with them.
The more you practice this, the more awake and alive you will feel throughout your days. You can practice Mindfulness Meditation wherever you are, and I highly encourage you to practice it everywhere.
Use your thinking mind when you need to take appropriate action, and then take action & live in the moment. Choose to pay attention to your surroundings on purpose. Stop letting your phantom mind drag you backwards. Don’t believe everything you think, we are often wrong anyway. Practice Mindfulness Meditation throughout your day. It won’t always be easy, but you have a choice.
“Old urges continue to arise, but urges do not matter; only actions do. A warrior is as a warrior does…Action always happens in the present, because it is an expression of the body, which can only exist in the here and now. But the mind is like a phantom that lives only in the past or future. It’s only power over you is to draw your attention out of the present.” Millman
Some of the answers to our biggest question are found not in thinking more, but in thinking less. In being in touch with your senses, you are able to live fully.
Let us get back to our natural and blissful way of living. Regain your curiosity for life. Learn & observe all things.
“There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the path. There is no path to love. Love is the path. There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.” Millman
“My name doesn’t matter; neither does yours. What is important is what lies beyond names and beyond questions.” Millman
I encourage you to listen to and read anything from Dan Millman, Alan Watts, Ram Dass, Eckhart Tolle, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh & all the many other teachers of living a fuller & happier life in the present moment. You can read a summary of Way Of The Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman, by Clicking Here.
Let me know how you practice mindfulness! I love connecting with like minded individuals.