It is no surprise that in this fast paced world, we as a people want pleasure or gratfication now! Sometimes even yesterday. We rush our kids around in the morning trying to get them off to school. We rush ourselves off to Starbucks or the Golden Arches for breakfast, then rush to the interstate to get to work only to find that the traffic is so bad that we are going to be late anyway. At work we drift and have a million things on our minds. Working "for the legal tender" at a job that cares less about people than placing their signs all around with cute, warm quotes that simply do not exist in that corporation. We wonder what is it for. We rationalize, retirement, it's for my kids, I need a new car, it;s for the house note and on and on do we rationalize in this mix of madness. We encourage our kids to go to college and get an education. Then they cannot find a job. Sometimes I even look and question myself, three college degrees later, that I might have done better coming out of a 2 year nursing program or an industrial vo-tec education. It seems though, that we as a people, inspite of what we do, are on the hampster wheel, but never notice that the hampster just might be dead.
In counseling today, as well as Buddhism and in some traditional martial arts (mind, body & spirit) ones, the term "mindfulness" is being used. I know, there is no time for all that esoteric stuff because now the work day is over and we have to jump back on the hampster wheel and pick up the kids, have dinner and the Arches, soccer, dance, karate etc. Where does it ever end?
At some point in our lives, we MUST find some "ME" time. A few moments a day to focus and center and at times reassess just what we are doing and if the end result is really worth it. No psychotherapist, counselor, or martial arts instructor should tell you what to do, however, those professionally trained can sometimes be a source of guidance.
In the Tao Te Ching (50) Lao Tzu writes, "He dosen't think about his actions; they flow from his being. He holds nothing back from life. Jesus is said to have spoken of the lillies of the field and birds of the air that neither reap or sow and yet they are cared for. One can only live a trusting life in God, Buddha, the Universe or whatever one's belief system is only if one takes time to "center" and focus on the direction they pursue. Otherwise we are a ship of fools on an ocean of hurricane force without sails or rudder.
The botton line here is that we all have responsibilities. Sometimes we need to STOP and reassess our course and make sure we did not go adrift. This is how family units unravel. So, this week take the 15 minute challenge. Go in the yard, bathroom, car, your room, anywhere you can be alone. Sit quetly. Ask for nothing. Let God, nature or the birds talk to you. Do not expect some voice from the heavens or lightening to strike. Listen to your heart and listen within. Fifteen minutes a day for one month and you will find answers hidden inside to questions no one else coud answer. Be patient. Feel your breath. Listen to you heart. Then return to your daily activities.
For further reading on Mindfulness see St Teresa of Avalia or the writings of Thich Naht Hanh.
Master Ken Ducote, MA, NCC, LPC