It is often said that in order to be mindful, we must begin to observe our mind. Observing our minds can be quite a challenge as most of us are conditioned to our minds driving our behaviour and emotions. In the lead up to Mindful May, I had taken a slightly different approach and chosen to start observing of my behaviour.
The other morning as I was driving to my usual 6am yoga class, I began to search through my Mary Poppins style bag for my phone, after two minutes of searching madly with one hand while stopped at the traffic lights, I tried to recall if I actually grabbed my phone as I raced out the door. I had absolutely no memory of grabbing it, so in a fluster I drove back home and madly searched my room to no avail.
I went back to my car to have a decent look through my bag and guess what … my phone had been there the whole time. As I got back on track, I began to reflect on what had just transpired. I began to ask myself
how often do we miss things in life because we haven’t bothered to look properly?
how often do we double back in life looking for something that we already have?
how often do we have no recollection of what we’ve just done because we have gone onto autopilot?
I’m sure most of us have experienced these moments in life — you walk into a room and can’t remember what you’re doing there, you can’t find something that’s in front of your face or you go back to somewhere looking for something you don’t realise you already have. Quite often when we ask ourselves why this happens, the answer stems back to our mad monkey minds. Like a mad monkey jumping from tree to tree, our mind races between thoughts. So caught up in our heads that we are not actually present in anything we are doing.
Becoming aware of these moments in our lives and observing them without judgement can be very empowering. Recognising times where our behaviour is mindless can be a building block to being more focused in the future.
Use the awareness to set little goals for yourself. If you find that you are in auto pilot every morning – never really even knowing how you even got from home to work – set yourself a goal to be present in one small part of your morning routine, it might be eating your breakfast or brushing your teeth. Really focus on what you are doing and every time you notice your thoughts drift off bring them back to the activity.
This May, be curious like a child, observe the everyday and ask yourself questions and set little goals.