“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” –Jack Kornfield
In our modern society, busyness is often praised while being idle is frowned upon, however, busyness does not always equal productivity or fulfillment. Mindfulness meditation is a tool that increases our awareness, and in turn, enables us to non-judgmentally and compassionately observe our actions and reactions. This is important so that we can understand the reasons behind our packed schedules and lack of free time. Does our passion drive us to get more done or are we using our supposed busyness to avoid dealing with a certain unpleasant reality in our lives? Are we content with the way we spend the majority of our time or is our busyness a significant source of stress and anxiety? Does our busyness align with our goals and values or are we keeping occupied with tasks we take on due to fear or avoidance? Through mindfulness meditation we allow ourselves the time and space to look inward with gentle awareness. We notice which tasks we prioritize and where we’d like to dedicate more of our limited attention. We simply become more in tune with ourselves and the power this has on our lives cannot be overstated.
Both in the workplace and outside the office, we tend to keep schedules booked solid for weeks ahead and struggle to add yet another item to our expanding to-do list. Multi-tasking, a term that was often found in job descriptions as a required “skill”, is now seen for what it is: a productivity killer. We now know that our brains can’t focus on multiple tasks at once while performing to the best of our ability, however, we continue to take on more than we can handle for the sake of attaining so-called “success”. There is also the normalized state of constant distraction we find ourselves in with multiple mobile devices and other technology overtaking our lives and pressuring us to be available 24/7.
Mindfulness meditation is a way to check in with ourselves on a regular basis while also gaining insight into where we focus our attention. Even when we are extremely pressed for time, making the effort to sit in meditation is vitally important for our overall wellbeing. Taking even 5 minutes a day to come back to the present moment through mindfulness meditation can allow us to become more aware.
To get started with a basic mindfulness meditation, we could pay attention to our in breath and our out breath, while letting any thoughts that arise fade away. We could continue to follow our breath and when we notice that we’ve become distracted, we compassionately bring our focus back to the breath once again.
Another exercise as suggested by the author of an article on Mindful.org is to, either individually or with one or two other people, pause and reflect on a typical “busy day” and how this makes us feel. We can reflect on what emotions come up when we recollect an especially busy day and how we feel these emotions in our body. If in a group, we can share our observations with one another, or individually, we can jot them down in a journal.
Mindfulness and busyness are not mutually exclusive, but rather mindfulness can shine a light on our priorities and help us to live a more fulfilling life.
Meditation instructor Alice Lash offers mindfulness meditation in Miami. Learn more about mindfulness mediation by registering for a class at Mindfultime today.