“You are a human being, not a human doing.”
I’ve done a lot of observing (ok, people-watching) in my life, and one massive thing that always intrigues me is mankind’s heavily-constructed perception of ‘time’. Or more notably, how so many view it as being something that’s elusive and fleeting, like there’s never quite enough of it. Sounds crazy to me, but it is a common misconception. So heavily ingrained that the majority of humans live with the constant fear that ‘time’ – something that doesn’t even concretely exist - will slip out of their hands if they’re not careful enough. They are constantly rushing around from one task to the next, ticking off goals on a check-list in an attempt to get to some ‘final destination’, always looking to move on to the next big thing before they have truly taken in the bliss of what we call the ‘NOW’. To put it plainly, they are simply never satisfied.
If you’re someone who’s reading this and thinking ‘nope, I genuinely live in every moment’, then great. If you’re someone who’s saying that but really lying to yourself, then not-so-great. It’s okay to admit that you’ve been tricked by the illusion of time. In fact, it’s completely necessary to be honest with yourself in order to progress. The truth is that most of us humans have been caught in this trap; it’s all we’ve been taught thus all we’ve ever known. In a world that sometimes feels like it spins too fast and burns too bright, it can be difficult, and even scary, to slow down and entirely put your trust into the present moment, feeling completely grateful and at ease with where you are whilst also being eager for more. (This is what we refer to as the optimal vantage point for creation.)
In fact, I don’t think it’s until we find ourselves in situations such as sitting in a dentist’s waiting room without a phone or anything to do, that we even realise how little we are truly aware in each moment. When you find yourself with no distractions, nothing to absent-mindedly fiddle with, no background noise - how many of you begin to get restless and search for something to do? I think I already know the answer. Many of us have gotten to this point where our lives ARE simply ‘waiting rooms’; we spend all week waiting for Friday and all year waiting for summer with the misguided mind-set that happiness is something that comes as an end-result AFTER we have completed ‘X’ tasks. Well I’m here to tell you that whoever told you that, is wrong. It’s all backwards. When you chase things, they run away. You have to attract them. Feel good NOW and watch the joy manifest itself into your experience and unfold in front of you. Forget the concept of time – past and future – the only moment that exists is NOW. Live in it. Feel joyful. Be.
Now that you’re beginning to see the vital importance of mindfulness, here are a few important bites of knowledge to refresh your understanding, and some steps you can take to ensure you’re moving forwards:
1. The joy is in the journey
This maxim is thrown around like it’s going out of fashion, but few truly understand the piece of golden knowledge encapsulated within the proverb. “You can’t have a happy ending to an unhappy journey.” When you feel joyful and content in this present moment you have no need nor desire to even begin worrying about what your destination will be like, because your choice to head down a path of bliss and well-being means that the universe has no other option but to keep responding to the positive vibration you are offering.
2. Be still and alone
You don’t realise how incompetent humans are at simply sitting still and existing until you’re sat in a yoga class with a bunch of people who can’t even hold the Lotus position for more than 30 seconds. The need for constant stimulation is a human coping mechanism utilised to distract ourselves from the solitudinous nature of our existence. You are a human being, not a human doing; it’s incredible how many people have forgotten to do just that.
3. Become aware of your breathing
Yes, there is an important reason why this plays such a huge part in meditation. Focusing on your breathing not only helps you to relax, but it also forces you to be aware of yourself and the life that you hold at this very moment in time. Respiration is nothing but a transfer of energy – inhale the vibes you do want and exhale all that no longer serves you. When you steer every aspect of your attention to such an intricate body process, the mind has no option but to let go of all other worries that no longer exist as you are mindful.
Ah, the sheer beauty of it. I can’t think of any other song of the universe I’d rather listen to. Shut off that background noise and focus on creating peace from within, not from without. Silence speaks volumes when you open your ears to it.
5. Run the day (before it runs you)
If only instead of immediately checking your phone as you wake up each morning, we would all take a moment to mentally list 10 things we’re thankful for, stay quiet for 5 minutes and send love to 3 people who are bothering us – our lives would be forever changed.