Life is moving faster than ever these days–and, like most of us, you’re probably trying to keep up! Between the demands of work, family, your TO DO List, and endless instant communicating via all your devices, do you ever feel like you’re on top of it all?
Amidst your busy-ness do you feel joy in what you are doing? Do you have time to feel much at all–except maybe stress, agitation, and impatience? Are you missing the joy in life?
Let’s explore a simple way you can unplug for a moment and connect to what you’re really after.
There is such a momentum for speed and efficiency these days, it’s hard not to be caught up in it. In fact, it’s easy to be so lost in all that you’re doing that you don’t know what you’re missing. However, if you find that you’re uneasy and anxious, or feel disconnected from what you truly desire and how to get there, you might be missing out on something essential.
You may be missing out on the natural ease, peace, joy, and deeper purpose that comes from being truly present in what you’re doing.
What does that really mean and why does it matter?
You see, busy-ness likely follows a false promise–that to have what you need and what you desire you’ve got to “get ahead,” make a lot of money, stay in front of the competition, and work your tail off doing it.
You may believe that, if you stop “keeping up with it all,” for even a few minutes, you’ll get behind, be late, be lazy, or be unworthy of having what you want. You might think someone else will take it from you. Yet, in this frantic activity, do you actually end up missing out on what you’re really after? Isn’t it specific experiences that you desire–like feeling energized and alive, relaxed and secure, loving and being loved, and enjoying what you have?
What if you miss these experiences by being so speedy?
If your mind is always thinking ahead to the next thing, are you missing out on what you’re doing now? If you are just checking off things on your list as fast as you can, without being fully engaged in what you’re doing, are you missing experiences–are you missing the joy in being alive?
As an example, let’s take one simple activity you do every day and see how this can happen. Let’s talk about eating.
Do you ever look forward to what you’re going to eat, then either “wolf it down,” or multi-task while you eat, so that you miss the enjoyment of your food? Then, because you missed out on the enjoyment of your food, do you find yourself wanting more right away? Does this lead you to overeat, and never really be satisfied?
Do you do that with other activities in your life? Are you constantly searching for satisfaction?
If so, here’s a simple cure. Take a real break from everything else that you are doing. Set down the cell-phone. Log off the internet. Have a seat in silence and really pay attention to what you are eating. As you pick up the food actually look at it, as if for the first time. Then “drink it in” with all your senses–see it, smell it, and feel the texture as you put it into your mouth.
Chew slowly, noticing what is going on in your mouth. Really enjoy the flavor and the different sensations inside your mouth. Chew for a while before you swallow, so you really “get the experience.” Swallow and follow the sensation of that one bite down your throat.
Imagine and feel it arrive in your stomach. Imagine and feel your body absorbing the nutrients. Only then, take your next bite and repeat the process.
Is this a different experience from what you normally do? When you’re eating good food, it’s a real pleasure. Notice how, if you raced through a meal, you’d miss that pleasure.
Eating mindfully–slowly, deliberately, and intentionally paying attention to the details of the sensations– connects you to the joy in what you are doing. It also sensitizes you to choose good food–food that tastes good and is good for you.
When you take your time like this, you are much less likely to overeat, because you actually savor the experience–you are present in it–instead of missing it.
Interestingly, after a “mindful experience” like this, you’ll be more relaxed, clear-headed, and efficient at whatever else you put your mind to.
What if you brought this type of mindfulness into other activities–for example, work tasks, conversations, and exercise? Not only would you discover more joy in these experiences, but you might find yourself making different choices about what you put your time and energy into.
You might find yourself “feeling” what is right for you and what isn’t. You might find yourself more connected to the Core of who you are and to the deeper purpose in everything you do.