Being Mindful of Every Experience
Updated: Feb 13
Times they sure are a-changing! And quickly too!! How we work, how we play, how we live, every aspect of every day life is experiencing a period of change.
It's part of the human condition to instinctively make order from chaos. In the first instance, we might simply want to identify whether the change is going to be "Good for me" or "Bad for me!"; the next step is to learn enough about the chaos to organize it into ordered compartments. Attaining knowledge involves the formation of neurons that connect to known-knowns, allowing the brain to coordinate its actions and store information.
But with so much change happening in our world, there are many more transitional periods of chaos to make sense of and less time dedicated to understanding what just happened. Furthermore, those thoughts become all-consuming as they preoccupy more of our time than we'd like.
Think about it; have you ever left a busy day at work, arriving home with no memory of the journey? Or maybe you've skipped lunch, racing from one task to another and grabbing a forgotten bite along the way? Speaking of remembering, have you ever gone in search of something only to forget what it was you were looking for? We'd likely describe these as 'moments of mindlessness', switching to autopilot as our brain reacts to constant distractions. We can consciously divert our attention to something else while simultaneously completing another task unconsciously, but at what cost? We are sleepwalking through more and more experiences as we regress into disengagement.
Although autopilot allows us the ability to do more - to multitask multiple distractions - we are losing the ability to communicate 'updates' back to our known-knows, having not consciously experienced them. In the same way we update stored phone numbers straight to our contacts list, or complete a batch transfer of all contacts whenever we upgrade the devices, our brain is unable to recall a particular number if the device is temporarily unavailable. It's this mindless way of living that actually makes us more reactionary; ultimately leading us to being less resilient:
we are deprived of sleep because we're unable to 'switch off'
we're experiencing more health issues as we lose control of the food consumed and/or the energy expelled through regular exercise
we miss precious moments in real time, preoccupied instead with flashing Facebook notifications
our bodies are in an abnormal state of high alert, ready to deal with the next distraction
stress levels continue to rise as we become anxious of the known-unknowns
we are living in a greater fear of the unknown-unknowns.
In order to regain balance and experience change more harmoniously, we need to retrain our brains to be more mindful. I wonder how many precious moments we've disengaged from as we 'go through the motions' ? If you're mindlessly moving through life, unconsciously making choices and resolving situations without putting much thought in to them, you might benefit from choosing Mindfulness.
Pay more attention to your loved ones so there's less need to make amends. Research suggests that Mindfulness can strengthen relationships as it helps being more aware of eachother's fluctuating moods; becoming more empathetic and accepting of differences.
Mindfulness helps retrain our brains to focus on being in the moment; to dedicate conscious thought and be fully engaged. Introduce positive new habits into your daily routine by completing Mindfulness tasks and activities, such as reflecting on instances of kindness that you're thankful for. Listening to music can calm the mind, improving its ability to be attentive.
Studies show that completing a task that demands our full attention (like handwriting a letter or card without the assistance of predictive text) can help us focus more in all areas of life.
Learn from others new to the experience by being fully engaged in their learning journey. Not only is it possible to teach an old dog new tricks, that dog might further enhance this new way of doing things with recollections of previous ideas constrained by outdated processes. Martin Scorcese was able to rejuvenate the ol' faithful cast by using Youthification Technology, seen previously in Marvel's Captain America : Civil War.
The more mindful we are, the greater our ability to connect positively with the changing world. Our focus will be on understanding instead of compartmentalizing; we'd interact in the moment rather than on learnt assumptions; and we'd have a better chance of achieving balance physically, psychologically and emotionally.