Remember those 60,000-90,000 thoughts, ideas, memories? Well, 90% of them are on automatic pilot. Which means we know we do them. But we’re only vaguely aware that we’re doing them. Driving, walking, eating, and even speaking, can come under the automatic umbrella.
If you doubt this, think of the last time words fell out of your mouth before you could stop them. Even as they were tumbling out, impacting on the meeting, relationship, conversation, you may have been thinking to yourself,’ Am I saying this?’
Or afterwards, when the damage is done, the pall of silence hangs in the air, and the hurt disbelief registers on the face opposite you, the words ‘WHAT IN THE NAME OF GOD HAVE I JUST SAID?’ tramp all over your mind. And that's how you become acutely aware, of what being vaguely aware, can do to your life.
And the lives of others.
The same goes for driving, where a moment’s inattention can kill, or walking, when the texting walker can crash, maim, bump or trip.
So, how do we get to be mindful of what we’re doing, aware of how we’re using ourselves?
The first point is to realise that none of us is perfect, and we’re all inclined to daydream, be distracted, taken away from the job in hand, not physically, but mentally. An example would be your journey in the morning; you may pass 10 sets of lights, change gear 40 times, stop to get petrol, buy a paper, switch the wipers on, and by the time you’ve arrived, you’ve no thought of any of it, even the shower that caused you to decide to put the wipers on.
Now, provided you’re present enough to respond to emergencies, react to showers, slow when it’s warranted, that’s fine. Your main focus of attention might be for a statement to make, an apology to offer, a meeting you’d like to go in a certain way, and that’s fine, you’re still enough in the moment to use yourself as needed.
But worry, fear, apprehension, doubt, can invade and consume the mind beyond reason. You can become not just vaguely aware of what’s going on, but unaware, distracted, confused.
That’s why, without undue alarm, we need to marshal our thoughts, be attentive, become mindfully aware, and use the intelligence we have, to guide our words and actions for the betterment of our own and others’ lives.
There are many ways to do this. For another one of them, have a look athttp://davidhegarty.weebly.com/shop.html