I know the path to peace is staying in the moment.
This has been a recent exercise I’ve been working on. It is actually pretty difficult for a person like me who’s thoughts tend to drift, play leap-frog, and jump from one stone to the next in the river of my mind. It seems I tend to find myself in moments separated by minutes.
So I’ve been working on keeping as much focus as I can on where I am and what I’m doing in each moment, or to try to keep the moment in a continuum rather than a series of moments interjected and shattered with a wandering mind. This is much easier to do when I’m focused on problem-solving at work, troubleshooting a specific issue, or working on an in-depth project. The trouble comes when I take on the tasks mundane, the routines that are defined by their common banality.
Those are the situations that make for a good starting point, an excellent opportunity to try to stay in the present. Standing in the shower with a brain having just lept from the symbol-rich and seemingly chaotic dreamscape that tends to want to latch onto a melody line like a viper is a great place to practice. Keeping keen focus on the process of becoming clean, rather than using the shower as shake-me-to-wake-me tool to meet the oncoming day.
While driving to work, staying focused on the roads, the lights, my speed, the cars and pedestrians in my field of vision. Almost every accident occurs due to even the tiniest distraction.
Walking between buildings and service calls at work. What a great opportunity to first scan my physical self, see where I’m carrying undue focus or tension, then take the time to really notice the evergreens, the crows at their bizarre socializations, the hue and tone of the sky, the force of the wind or breeze or even the stillness of the air, the lightness of the rain or the crispness of the cold autumn air on my cheek.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of being aware of the cues. Do I have an impetus to pick up the phone and text if there isn’t something urgent or important to communicate? Am I thinking about a project that is hours away from me returning to? Those are flags for me notifying me of my attention’s attempt at making an escape. My focus is about to dash out of the space that is the here and now and seek refuge from the mundane in the sanctity of distraction.
Now there’s nothing wrong with daydreaming or imagination. But if I spend the majority of my time there, what is the point of being here, in this life? I would be letting the precious gift of life slip between the cracks.