Last night as Bloody Good Chap was spooning me, I snuggled up to him and heard my mind say
“enjoy this while it lasts, you’ll miss this.”
This morning I woke up to the sound of a piano in my head, followed closely by Chris Martin’s voice.
“Drinks on me, drinks on me, I was soooo happy” Etc.
Last week I had a run in with a rowing team and a 10 metre long pointy rowing boat that nearly knocked me off my bike – as they nearly ploughed into me with the pointy end as I cycled past, I shouted “watch out”, and one of the rowers shouted back “YOU watch out!”
About 5 minutes and 2km later I realised there was shouting going on in my head “You watch out, what do you mean, you watch out, I’m biking past like every other pedestrian,
why do you think you own the road with your little spandex shorts and shiny private school boats…”
Neville (my mind) was an-gry!
But we usually do what it says, or at least take the time to worry about it.
Mindfulness is the ability to notice what’s going on in our present experience, so we can hear the voice in our head and any emotions or urges that spring up in our body, so that instead of believing our mind’s rants:
(You don’t fit in, you’re too stupid, you’re too fat)
Or unconsciously taking our mind’s erratic advice:
(You should leave, no one wants you here. Who are you to start your own business, you can’t hack it, stay in your job. Eat the gluten free chocolate chip cookie. Eat another one. Oh look now you look like a pig, eat the whole packet. Disguise the evidence inside another box)…
If we don’t hone this ability, we’ll go through life constantly trying to fill the void where our satisfaction should be; trying to fill it with success, promotions, cars, hot babes. But eventually there comes a point on that path where we have it all, and we still feel no different, in fact we likely feel a bit worse. Because that thing we were seeking turned out to be just as unfulfilling as everything else. Only by now, we’ve realised we’ve just wasted a whole lot of our life chasing the wrong thing.
The only way to find out “who you are” away from all the material jazz and social status shenanigans is to be able to see who you are underneath that chattering voice that doesn’t always have your best interests at heart.
All the things we do that we later regret are a result of mindlessness.
This is what mindfulness does.
People often think that only some people are suited to mindfulness, the sort of go with the flow, yogi, nature loving people. But actually it’s the opposite, the more highly strung, stressy, motivated, all or nothing, control freaky, perfectionisty and driven you are, like me, the more benefit you’ll get from meditation, and you’ll become a lot more effective and productive, not less.
Dan Harris puts it best: Being less emotionally reactive, less caught up in useless rumination or worry or anger or hatred makes you more effective.
It also makes you easy to be with,
and if people like you, they’ll be more likely to help you and collaborate with you.
In fact it gives you an edge, because in observing your own tendencies, you can not only meditate your own responses to things so that you don’t engage in unhelpful behaviour, fights, and procrastination, but you can also start to read people better, because when you’re less caught up in your own bollocks, you can much more clearly see where everyone else is at, and be authentic in the way that you handle yourself and others,
Which is extremely effective for managers, CEOs, athletes, execs, etc, who are the people now adopting mindfulness.
It’s also extremely effective for living a bloody good life. In fact, I reckon it’s your only option if you want to get out of your own way, create an epic life, and actually enjoy living it.
All else is a facade you show to the world about how happy you are while secretly wondering “is this really it?”
It’s not. There’s a missing piece of the puzzle.
Ps this golden hour light is really… gold! Like Geordie Shore.