mind the gap!

What follows is an account of the value of mindfulness.

It is the nature of a busy mind to become lost in thought. Of course there are warnings along the way. Life has a way of reminding us that we have gone astray from ourselves, but these go unnoticed as we wander blindly through life.

After a very stressful day at work I eventually got home and made myself a bath, something intended to help me relax, help me tune down and find my neutral space. As a lay in the hot water I began to contemplate.

the drive to work, how I had spent the entire day with wet feet, the resulting smell of my shoes and worrying about what people might think, the report that wasn’t processed properly, was it my fault, did I do something wrong….I am still quite new to the company, would they consider firing me….? I really don’t fit in very well, I try to be smart but this does not feel right to me,…oh my shoes really smelled bad today,….are they monitoring my performance…oh I hope I am meeting my targets, I have come so far and would be lost without my flat…

But instead of being in a relaxed state I found my thoughts racing, I wasn’t unwinding, I was deeply lost in thought, watching them race by as I lay trying keep up. Thoughts endlessly tangled like brambles confined between the walls of my mind, each mini-thought leading me down a path of new useless avenues. Without truly being aware, the bath had turned cold. 45 minutes had passed by and I achieved nothing. Sure my body was clean, my muscles relaxed, but my mind, my sense of self, still stressed and work focused. My thoughts were entirely focused on the past, the future, but blissfully unaware of the present moment.

Then as if waking to my senses for the first time I stood back from thinking, the thoughts were there but now I simply began watching them pass by, choosing not to entertain them. Only then did I register the bath’s temperature, only then did I begin to relax.

The lesson learned here [the realisation was] is I too easily get lost in thought. The true value of this awareness comes precisely at the moment when one stops following the tangle of thoughts. The fascinating paradox here is that one cannot think about not thinking, it’s a state of mind achieved only in practice.

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