Many of us spend much of our lives allowing our minds to operate on overdrive. Studies show that we humans produce from 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts each day — an indication of our highly whirling minds.
We allow our unharnessed thoughts to jump from one to another to another until we end our days in a state of mental exhaustion. Many of our thoughts are anything but productive, and we do very little to regulate our meandering mental activity. We allow our minds to be “future chasers” or “past dwellers.” They take us everywhere except for where it matters most — the present moment.
The challenge is training our minds to stop — really stop. The mind is prone to wander out of the present but we can train it to move away from the busyness in our heads through practicing Mindfulness.
Through Mindfulness, we all have the ability to become more present, awake and aware. Practicing Mindfulness reins in our random thoughts and holds us in the present moment. We can initiate a Mindfulness state by pointing our mind inward and focusing on our breath. As we stay focused on the breath, we slow our active minds and connect to the present.
In this mindful state, we’re able to look more deeply into what we’re actually feeling in the moment. It’s a state in which we’re observing our life unfold and becoming better able to experience it with clarity and acceptance. Taking the time to simply observe, we see so much more than when we’re busy thinking about what we have to do next. We open up to what resides in our hearts.
Mindfulness allows us to intentionally bring our busy minds into the present. When we’re fully present and surrender to the moment with total awareness, we experience a sense of non-separation that makes us feel whole, complete, and authentically ourselves.
Explore these ways to slow our whirling minds and become more awake, present, and aware:
1. Limit distractions. When we are able to find a break in our day, instead of using the moment to center ourselves and reconnect with the present, we distract ourselves with social media. But going on Twitter or Instagram only serves to disconnect us from our true, present-moment awareness. Instead, by using the moment to breathe, to calm our minds, and to go within, we find union in reality. We experience our lives beyond what’s just on the surface and begin to experience a more conscious knowing.
2. Feed your spirit. When you feel a type of emptiness, or apathy, that’s your spirit telling you something extremely important. But, if instead of going deeper within to explore what’s troubling you, you choose to suppress the feeling or to anesthetize yourself, you’re not tending to your spirit. Feeding your spirit can mean taking a walk in nature, doing yoga, sitting in quiet contemplation, gardening, listening to music, playing with a pet, making love, painting, cooking, or helping someone in need. Listen to what your spirit is asking, and allow it to soar.
3. Practice “life gazing.” When you take the time to simply look around at your world, you see so much more than when you’re busy thinking about what you have to do next. Practice being aware of what’s around you when you’re stopped at a red light. Or step outside and observe what’s taking place on the street. Balancing your daily routine of work, chores and running errands with taking present moment intervals to stop your mind from being on autopilot helps you to feel more alive and vital.
4. Curb your ego. To begin to appreciate the rewards of slowing down and quieting the mind, stop trying to manipulate the world to feed your ego. Rein in any drama that you create. Don’t let your “small self” run the show. Instead, undertake to sharpen your awareness and see below the surface.
5. Observe the moment with neutrality. Staying present in the moment can be challenging if you’re facing something daunting, difficult or painful. Emotions such as anger or insecurity can make your mind race. But if you allow yourself to open to challenging moments with acceptance, your resistance begins to dissolve. You can tell yourself, “I can handle this moment. There’s nothing for me to fear.” You can direct the moment — meaning you can navigate it with neutrality — because you’re no longer constricting or reacting, but allowing for it to just be. Opening up to whatever challenges present themselves, instead of resisting them, helps you ease into those moments, learn from them, and find what rings true for you.
Through a practice of Mindfulness, you can stop the mental whirling and connect to your authentic self. Taking time to connect to and acknowledge your true self will help you better appreciate this precious gift of life.
**Originally published at Brainz Magazine