Harrold doesn’t have a to do list in her head. She doesn’t wake up in her sawdust nest with worries for the day/ week/ month/ year ahead. She doesn’t dwell on regrets or better times passed. She’s inquisitive, curious, and from the amount of excited peeping going on as she learns to fly, she certainly seems to be living a bloody good life.
Baby chickens (and all other animals except humans) don’t have a mind like ours.
That voice in our head speaks in language.
English, for those of you reading this. Or maybe Danish or Scottish ;)
Ok so I really just wanted to post another photo of Harrold. But I must elaborate – because this is an important factor in understanding mindfulness. Animals are an easy route to a mindful state – we can access their joy at the simple pleasures in life just by observing them.
And we can learn from them what it could be like to live in a mindful state.
Animals wake up free from the mind-made to do list. They address their primary survival needs.
Hunger. Thirst. Shelter.
Whatever emotion or physical symptom they feel, they act on it.
Once those needs are met (for pets, for example) they move onto entertaining activities. They don’t plan ahead for this or worry whether they have enough friends to play with. They find the nearest thing to play with and they’re good to go.
Harrold has been practicing flying (that is, trying to fly out of her cardboard box) for a week now. She flies to the edge of the box, sits there for a while, then jumps back in. She never jumps out. She must do it 50 times a day, but she doesn’t seem to get bored of it.
Because boredom is created by our mind.
Animals don’t experience boredom in the way that we do.Boredom = the mind wanting to be somewhere other than where we are. Click To Tweet
This is what it feels like not to accept how things are – we end up living a life filled with things to try and keep our mind occupied so it won’t get bored. But it never works for long, so there’s got to be a better option.
Animals seem infinitely entertained by the most boring of things. Chewing on iPhone chargers – so much fun. Chasing a stick over and over – the best. Eating cardboard – ace. Getting into a box. Getting out of a box. Getting back into the box. So. Much. Fun.
Because of this ability to stay present in the moment with whatever they do, animals get joy out of the simplest, most repetitive things. They see things as they are. And they can enjoy the same again tomorrow, and next year, with no complaints. This is what it’s like not to have a mind.
we can never be free from our mind activity, but we can learn to watch our mind and to defuse ourselves from it Click To Tweet
so that we can get the same level of joy from the little things in life; stress less about the future and dwell less on the past.
Watch a small child look around in wonder and squeal with excitement – this is what it feels like to be present in the moment – not distracted by our mind – and believe it or not, it’s possible for grown ups like us too.
I squeal with excitement on a regular basis, which was certainly not the case before I learnt what I now teach in Bloody Good Life 101.
This is what it looks like to live a bloody good life