Ah the madness of multitasking! We may boast or feel proud that we can manage to do multiple things at once, and certainly many things cry out for our attention every day. But let’s slow down a bit here.
Buddha said “Be where you are. Otherwise you will miss your life.”
Indeed, it is not really possible to be fully aware, present, and engaged in our lives if we are attempting to spread our attention too thin.
Please let’s remember to slow down. One thing at a time. There is so much more room and potential to really experience and feel joy in our lives if we fully engage in what we are doing.
Maybe many of those things that seem to be calling for our attention all the time are not that important.
So we are having a deep conversation with a friend and our phone rings- leave it! Half the time calls are from someone we don’t know trying to sell us something! Same thing with texts. We don’t need to interrupt what we are doing to see a text that says “We need milk.” No wonder a lot of us have a hard time remembering things- we allow ourselves to be constantly interrupted. Maybe we can put our lives on “Do not disturb ” mode, and keep it simple.
In yoga class we practice watching our breath. That helps keep us anchored to present moment experience. As we move through the poses we can concentrate on the moment to moment experience of the sensations of strengthening and stretching as our bodies move. Breathing. Keeping it simple, keeping it slow. Paying attention. It feels peaceful, and great. Yoga class can be that place free of distractions where we can really get to know ourselves. You see a lot of me in yoga classes at the studio for just this reason- the practice of yoga slows down my busy mind and the anxiety that goes with it. Practicing yoga allows me to find clarity and peace of mind, as well as ease and strength. It has truly changed my life.
Let’s carry that peaceful self out into the world we live in and remember to make simplicity, awareness, and connection with ourselves and others a priority. Ultimately we will be happier and so will those around us. The greatest gift you can give someone is your full attention. Give that attention to yourself as well by being aware of how your body and breath feel throughout the day. If you’ve been coming to yoga class, you know how to take some slow, calming breaths, or ease some tension in an area that may need it. Go ahead and take some time to do it.
In yoga, this is part of the idea of saucha or purity. It’s one of the ethical principles of the Yamas and Niyamas outlined in Patanjali’s yoga sutras.
We don’t need extraordinary experiences to be happy. We need to pay attention to the everyday, simple things and appreciate how miraculous it is to be alive.
Be where you are. Keep it simple.