The cornerstone for your future happiness and success is you-wherever you go, you bring yourself with you. How much is that bright spirit inside you up to the surface, or how much is it covered over by layers of overthinking that make it hard for that sun inside you to shine through the clouds?
Have you ever had a computer or a mobile phone that was running very slowly and you discovered that there were a lot of programs, open in the background that were leaking away the power? When you closed down those programs, suddenly you had more speed/power for whatever you were working on.
And so it is with our minds: there are a lot of programs running in the background, many of which we aren’t consciously aware of. Spending some time daily in meditation, allowing “stuff” to dissolve and de-clutter, is an immediate “power boost”- you suddenly find that you are having more impact in the situations you are involved in. Your sun has come out from behind the clouds, you are more alive, free, happy.
“Being there”, being in the present rather than in your head, is a state much sought after by us all. People even put themselves in extreme situations to achieve that state: when you are climbing a rock face, or surfing high waves , you have to stay present : you aren’t at the same time worrying about the impression you made or didn’t make in your last meeting.
Of course its not only these extremes: an artist painting, a craftsperson creating, a mathematician working on a complex problem, a footballer facing the goal, a surgeon operating, anyone doing projects they are fully involved in, report that same sense of exhilaration and freedom from overthinking. Psychologists name that state “flow” and research shows that it is central to happiness : the more we are in flow, the happier we are .
In 2010, a large scale Harvard research study, using very reliable real-time sampling methodology showed that the average person’s mind is wandering, 47% of the time, and that we are least happy when the mind is wandering.
The essence of mindfulness is bringing that fully alive state to everyday living. This is why I am adamant that it is not something that you do by adding a few 20 minute sessions into your day. It is in fact a training in deepening your focus, and the activities that you do anyhow during the day, are your ideal practice ground.
For example, recently I had a busy working mother come to my classes. She talked about finishing work, rushing home, picking up the kids, getting the dinner with her partner, and then the last straw, getting her four year old to bed and reading her a story! It’s the story that really pushes me over the edge, she said despairingly, I know I ”should” like spending quality one on one time with my daughter, but by the time I get there, after everything else I have done, I just resent it.
I talked about using story time as the ideal training ground for deepening her capacity to pay attention, and gave her specific instructions and techniques. She missed the next class, but the following week was there and everything had changed. “Story time is now the best time of the day, I actually look forward to it, and am starting to apply the technique to other situations where I am impatient. Life is becoming more hassle-free.”
I call my courses “Take the Steps” because I believe there is a structured set of steps that can train the average person to come out from behind these layers of thought and get more of their essence into their everyday life.
- A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind: Matthew A Killingsworth, Daniel T Gilbert
Science 12 Nov 2010: Vol. 330, Issue 6006, pp. 932
Next “Take the Steps” six week course in Mindfulness and Wellbeing starts Thurs 25th Jan at in Clontarf/Raheny . Course runs from 7pm to 8.30pm. Fee: €150 includes my CD/Download “Mindful Everyday” with five tracks for practice.
Upcoming one day course: Sat 3rd Feb 10 to 5. Fee €90 (includes CD as above)
YOGA INTERMEDIATE COURSE resumes Mon 15th Jan at 8.15 to 9.30 pm.
This is a mixed ability class with a focus on mindfulness and energy flow.
Fee: €80 for six week course.
TO ENROL FOR YOGA : please email firstname.lastname@example.org
with your name and mobile no and I will get in touch.
YOGA FOR PREGNANCY AND BIRTH six week course starting Mon 29th Jan