This photo was taken at the Crossroads Farmer’s Market in Calgary. Walking through the market you realize that the opportunities to be present are boundless. People everywhere, new and amazing fruits and vegetables such as these dragon tongue beans. Sometimes the simplest moments or items can be sparks of inspiration.
Often times I find myself getting caught up in my mind; active is an understatement but it’s always been this way. My definition of me at my best was defined by achievement and this always seemed to come while juggling a multitude of things to in some respects keep the attention of my mind.
Those moments where you are alone, maybe sitting on the couch, or lying on the bed and it’s 4:00PM on a Sunday and your mind just starts prodding. You should do something…how about this..how about this. It seems I’m really good at filling up those moments. Opening my mind to meditation and mindfulness has in no way stopped this active mind. There are periods of time where I’ll become aware and think to myself what have I been doing for the last three hours! It has however given me an insight into the process. At times when the mind is active it feels as though I pull away and see myself as a neutral observer.
“You are searching for something to keep yourself occupied…” It then becomes clear that it’s not necessarily about being active or keeping my mind active but rather being present in those moments and enjoying what it is you are doing. Sitting in silence for example. Enjoying some NFL football on a Sunday afternoon and not feeling as though time is being wasted. Although meditation is all about sitting in silence with ourselves it too can become an activity.
“Oh good I’m going to go meditate…” and keep myself active for the next 30 minutes. The key is awareness and being present. The meditation is an activity but if I’m present throughout it’s benefits extend beyond the chair and help to open my eyes to either activities that the mind views as distractions. If you find yourself in situations similar this recognize that your mind is simply doing what it does best. Thinking. About everything and anything and when a thought catches in your mind it runs with it. It’s at those times you want to ask yourself is this activity truly a distraction or am I present in this moment and enjoying the time. The alternative is constantly trying to keep the active mind happy and it can be exhausting and lead to time seemingly disappearing without notice.
Marcel Proust has a famous quote that touches on the idea of being present and aware of those things around us.
“The real voyage in discovery is not seeking new lands, but seeing with new eyes.”
Sometimes an active mind drives us to scatter and try and do everything. Perhaps it’s not about doing everything but truly enjoying the one thing and being aware and present while doing it.