I am currently reading Christoper Titmuss’s book Mindfulness for everyday living. He begins his introduction by stating that “we often don’t realise how unmindful and out of touch we have become. We race out of the house in the morning to make an appointment, forgetting to take with us the necessary papers. Daydreaming while driving the car, we find ourselves slamming on the brakes to avoid smashing into the car in front. Eating unmindfully, we eat the wrong things or wind up feeling guilty for slouching on the sofa watching television while polishing off a large bag of potato chips…the practice of mindfulness changes our relationship to daily life so that we feel more in tune with ourselves, with others and with what is happening around us.”
When I read this on the weekend it struck me for a few reasons. I had a sudden realisation that I couldn’t remember how I had driven home all week. I know my route of course and I didn’t have an accident so I drove it safely, but I had no clear recollection of actually navigating the 8 daily trips to and from the train station. I had competently but unconsciously navigated my way to and from home everyday in a very unmindful way! Another reason why it struck me was that for the last couple of weeks I had rushed out of the house and left my train ticket at home in whatever coat or bag I had worn the day before and had to turn back to get it! These realisations were like eureka moments to me. I practice mindfulness which simply means I try to be an active participant in my life. I try to be present and to live in the now; I try to be aware spiritually and mentally and I take steps to nurture my soul. Sounds airy fairy I know and I shared those views many years ago but I learned don’t knock it until you have tried it!
You will note I used the word “try” because as with everything you don’t always get it right 100% of the time. There will be days when you fall back into old habits, when you get distracted by everything happening around you. I have learned, to err is human. It doesn’t matter if you are not in sync all the time, what matters is that you are self aware enough to know you are not, acknowledge it and then start again.
Mindfulness is not a new concept but it has gained in popularity in the last few years. There are a wealth of materials available on the market about the subject for anyone interested in the practice of it. As a life long learner I am always seeking to learn to improve myself. This love of learning was instilled in me from my high school whose motto is Vita sine litteris mors est or translated “Life without learning is death”.
Are you practicing mindfulness? How do you use this as part of your management practice?
Have a great week ahead.