Updated: Jun 1
I want to talk to you about taking a moment, and slowing it down.
Take a moment
When something stressful happens at work, or in a face to face situation, we get an unpleasant physical feeling. It could be a knot in our stomach, or tension in our shoulder, back or jaw. Our mind gets agitated.
It really helps to take a moment of mindfulness. As you practice mindfulness meditation, you learn techniques and focus points which you can use in everyday life. You even develop a kind of feeling for how to tap into a mindful state. Our work life is rush rush rush but you can always take a short moment to slow down and reconnect with mindfulness, even for a few seconds.
When we are busy at work, our minds can resist taking a break, it makes us feel guilty and unproductive. But you can always take just a moment to be mindful, it helps to clear the mind of buzzing stressful thoughts. Afterwards you will feel better and you will have more clarity to step up and take on the most urgent or strategic task.
When we are in a mindful state, our attention is focused on something experiential, and we hold that focus softly. We don’t resist the flow of thoughts, but we don’t give the thoughts enough attention to proliferate. We try very gently to notice our thoughts without engaging or reacting.
By focusing our attention on something physical and tangible, we are widening the sphere of our attention so that we can understand that we are not our thoughts, we are part of a moment which is bigger than our thoughts, we can find solace and joy in a sunbeam or the smell of coffee, even though we are having a hectic day. We can find peace in the middle of busy-ness.
Slow it down
Slowing it down is slightly different, it is a more of a way of life. Work is work, there are lots of demands and expectations, part of our self worth revolves around being good at doing things at work. I am not challenging or trying to change any of that. But outside work, life becomes much sweeter if you slow it down.
It is easy to model our home life on work, lots of goals, lists and things to do. It is easy to rush around till we flop down in front of a TV show or movie. But wonderful things can happen if you slow it down.
Next time you have time off from work, or even in a lunch break, try moving and thinking in slow motion, taking time to look around and experience your senses more. I don’t mean full on mindfulness, just doing things more slowly and noticing your five senses more.
I’ll give you an example. A few days ago my wife complained that when I load the dishwasher at night it makes a huge racket, and the same when I unload the dishwasher in the morning. This matters because we live in an apartment and everyone is home with their nerves a bit on edge, the neighbour downstairs had been complaining about noise in general. So I started to load the dishwasher much more slowly, taking care not to clatter pots and pans and dishes and glasses. It became a kind of Zen housework, I felt my mind was clearer and I enjoyed the fluid skillful movement.
I took this concept further and started doing things about 30% slower paying attention to the senses. And some wonderful things happened. I was surrounded by sensory experiences, so my mind stopped looking for stimulation and distractions, I started to feel a lot calmer and more centred.
When we rush around, our minds are absorbed in thoughts and reactions to thoughts, we don’t actually feel. We don’t notice how we are feeling or what we are feeling, the actual feeling gets lost in the mental dialogue about how we are feeling. By definition a feeling can’t be put into words, so any thoughts about the feeling are just reactions. Feeling the actual feeling is very different. When we slow down, we can feel. We can feel what we are feeling and we can feel another person’s presence, not just react to what they are saying or hold grudges against them for what they did or said in the past.
When we live a life without feeling, our minds know something is wrong, and it tries to fill the void with anxieties, insecurities and wishful thinking. When we slow it down, we can actual feel, and we feel more whole. When we feel whole, we can actually relate to other people, instead of reacting to people. And life becomes a whole lot better.
So remember, take a moment to be mindful at work, and slow down the rest of your life to feel and be whole.