I sat down at my office desk this morning with a steaming cup of coffee and the intention of writing something remarkable. About the best I could muster was writing out a check for the light bill. My …
I sat down at my office desk this morning with a steaming cup of coffee and the intention of writing something remarkable. About the best I could muster was writing out a check for the light bill. My mind ricochets from current events to a never-ending to-do list. Then I remembered the mantra that my lovely wife preaches to her students at work and at the community yoga class. “Where are you? Here. What time is it? Now.” In other words, “Be Here Now.”
Sometimes being mindful is harder than you might think. Especially when you have urgent calls from Emily at Card Services telling me there’s an issue with my credit card or the automated message from the Criminal Investigations Division of the IRS that needs to discuss my latest tax return. Not to mention the serious problem I have with my Windows computer. This one is especially perplexing since I haven’t a Windows computer in over 15 years.
After about an hour of tapping keys, my mind was still as blank as a busted TV set. I clicked my laptop closed and took Jilda out for breakfast. She found a table by the window, and I ordered the food. Eating at the local Jacks during morning hours is like attending a family reunion. We saw a half-dozen people we knew.
Sitting there, I looked around at the faces and heard clips of conversation. Mornings in that restaurant reminds me of my mother’s kitchen at breakfast. The aroma of bacon on the grill, and biscuits baking in the oven. I had a feeling that the experience would bring my mind back to here and now. I was right.
Once home, I took the critters for a walk. I flipped the collar of my insulated vest up to block the brisk wind out of the north.
A doe and two fawns were feeding on acorns by the barn. When they saw Ol’ Hook and Caillou, they bolted for the woods. The dogs yapped after them. I sat down on my thinking bench to watch, listen, and smell the earth getting ready for spring. Those moments without distraction were a joy. It felt good to “Be Here Now.”
There’s something powerful that happens when the mind is silent. Troubling things no longer seem as important. The space those thoughts occupy in my chattering mind tends to shrink. I often come up with creative approaches to complex problems. I don’t always solve them, but the silence gives me a chance to get a better grip on the pieces I can control. It also helps me to let go of the pieces I can’t control. This is a huge benefit of mindfulness.
There are those who say that mindfulness is a lot of New Age hooey. I’m not here to try and change anyone’s mind about mindfulness. But this much I know for sure. It works for me. In fact, it gave me the idea for this column today.
If you get fed up with Emily and your credit card problems, I suggest you try to Be Here Now.
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Goes On is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.