How present are we in our daily lives? Do we fully take in our surroundings? Do we give our utmost attention to those we choose to spend our time with? I revisit these questions frequently as I notice when I’m not fully there. Like a muscle, our minds have the ability to become stronger with practice. Neuroscience is now showing us how powerful this practice truly is on rewiring our brain and creating potentials for and developing a new internal homeostasis.
Todays life is influenced by the constant distractions we now have at our fingertips. Life as a human is now a little more complex than it has been in the past. Im not saying for good or bad but it is far more diverse. Most of us assign ourselves with more responsibilities than we can usually handle, and I see it as a part of modern ways of living and keeping up with the ever increasing pace of life. But even if its a work related responsibility it doesn’t have to be that way! As long as we understand that we have the authority to refract, choosing where we invest our extracurricular time and energy.
With our minds constantly reviewing, analyzing and comparing each moment to past events along with potential future outcomes, its no wonder why its so hard to stay focused. This drifting of the mind is what has been referred to as the “monkey mind”. Wandering through different thoughts creating an emotional state which influences our external reality. When we are in this wandering state we are living in a different reality in that moment and preventing ourselves from taking special care of or dealing with the present situation.
So are we truly listening when conversing with someone or are we caught up in a response to something earlier in the conversation. Rather than constantly looking down at the electronic devices, do we have the will power and strength to make eye contact with those we choose to interact with? This virtual hyper-connectivity is becoming a more popular topic, especially in relation to pulling us out of the present moment and into unproductive comparison and potential future events.
So here are three personal daily practices which help tame the monkey while strengthening my focus and attention. Practice listening when being spoken to. Eating meals without electronic distractions. Sitting in silence.
And remember, don’t take it too seriously!