The busier we are, the more we need a mind that can be clear and focused–one that can pause to take a breath, and think clearly and open-heartedly about the activities we’re engaged in.
I spoke with a friend about this today. Our conversation reminded me how tempting it is, when we’re overwhelmed, to drop the very habits that enable us to maintain our sanity: eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising both the body and the mind regularly. Just as we feel better when the body is healthy and fully-functional, we also feel better when our mind is well-trained.
Sakyong Mipham has likened mindfulness training to weight training. We’ve completed one “rep” each time we gently bring our mind back from distraction to the present moment, back to the breath as the object of our mindfulness. Regular training in mindfulness–just 10 minutes a day–transforms our experience. With a trained mind, we can bring our mind back from overwhelm or from the anxiety of feeling stretched in too many directions.
What a gift this is to ourselves! What a kindness–to feel that we can ride the roller coaster of our life with some sense of gentleness and appreciation.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day–no more, no less (until we take our last breath). We can afford the moments to pause between tasks and re-ground ourselves in the present moment. Five or ten minutes a day as a foundational mindfulness practice is an investment that pays massive dividends.
The funny thing is that mindfulness training may feel like it gives time. Try it for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.
Mindfulness supports another important habit of daily living: to pause and feel our precious, short life. If you pray or practice yoga or write in order to connect with a greater perspective, a regular mindfulness practice will support those activities and strengthen their effects. A settled mind is not a goal in itself–its real power is to enable us to connect in such a way to feel fully alive, present, and authentic.