Two weekends ago I did a mini, at-home, mindfulness thing. I made Saturday, from first arising to early evening, my ‘do one thing at a time, thoroughly, to completion’ day. I turned off all electronics–TV, computer, I-phone, Kindle–and didn’t plan to answer the door or respond to any outside distractions. (I did plan to respond to my smoke alarm.)
It was a unique experience. And not at all what I imagined or envisioned. I was pulled, over and over and over, by one shiny idea after another to stop what I was doing and do something else–ten times, twenty times, in one 5 minute period–for around 13 hours. Just being with how it felt to bring myself back to the present without following the cravings–to pick up, wash, graze, straighten, turn on, call, check, paint (my nails)–was an epiphany.
I get it! I no longer wonder why I feel overwhelmed and muddy and confused sometimes. I have spent tremendous blocks of time chasing my life, or my tail, or someone else’s tail. When I become a human doing without any awareness that I’ve left myself, the human being is lost…lost.
I completed lots and lots of small projects. Probably accomplished more, with less effort, than I’ve ever accomplished in my life. So it wasn’t a day of observing my navel. Purged books and clothes and cleaned and removed ‘stuff’ that had no meaning or purpose in my life. I did meditate, both sitting and walking, once each. That was it. The rest of the day was one project, one meal, one experience after another.
By the end of the day i felt CLEAR…and somehow COMPLETE. I’m not kidding myself. I know I won’t live out all my future days in blissful presence. Only a robot or a mechanical object can replicate or repeat the same experience over and over. What I am putting my attention on is the idea of getting better at doing one thing at a time more often. I’ve put a couple things in place to support that intention and help me remember.
From my experiment I think I’m a tad better at being present with whatever shows up–thoughts, sensations, cravings, longings, frustrations, resentments–without responding to them as though they’re my masters or all-knowing guides or even calls to action. They’re simply information that my mind is a thought machine to which my heart and body respond. It’s up to me to be present enough to notice if the thoughts or feelings or sensations are something I choose to act upon. (I know you’re not supposed to end with a preposition but switching it around sounded stuffy.)
Would love to hear if any of you have had the same experiences with a mind that resembles mine. A mind that has led you around by the nose for years, without you ever really knowing that you could do something about it, or possibly use it to serve you better.