Mindful or mind full?

Just enjoying each moment, experiencing each moment, because our life is the sum total of all moments:

Driving one day, a friend and I encountered a group of boys crossing the road. All of them were walking slowly, totally unaware of their surroundings, their noses buried in their hand-held devices. We could have bulldozed over them and none of them would have been the wiser.

How many times do we sit down for dinner and found families individually involved in their separate devices, phones and tablets? How many times have we driven to find a slowpoke or erratic driver talking on their mobile phone? How many times have we talked to somebody and found their minds elsewhere? And how many times have we done that to somebody else, even our own loved ones?

Modern living has made it such that our minds and body are out of sync. We are living in the past or in the future or somewhere else while our bodies occupy the present moment. We don’t focus on the now but some other time, some other place.

This comes very clear to me when I am training my clients. Their mind is elsewhere. A text message comes and everything has to stop. A call comes in and everything else is on pause. People put aside time to do something – in my case, physical training – but they do not honour it.

First, I would think that this kind of multi-tasking is dangerous. Those boys could have been hit by a motorist or fallen into a pothole. When our legs are manipulating a vehicle but our hands and eyes are manipulating our mobile phone, we are endangering ourselves, others around us, including pedestrians and animals.

Second, if you have set aside time for something, but are doing something else, then when do you do what you intend to for specific periods of time?

If one has set aside time to work, but are busy on the phone, or interacting on Facebook, then when will we work? If we set aside time to be with family, but are busy texting or what’s-apping others, are we doing our loved ones and ourselves a disservice?

Third, I wonder how this compounds between the mind and body. If we are busy doing something while our body is doing something else (driving and talking on the phone, eating and playing iPad games etc).

How many of us can physically do what our mind wants us to do? From observation, the answer is “no”.

It doesn’t have to be something flamboyant, like putting one’s leg behind one’s years. Postural correction, like rolling back sloped shoulders, or pushing back one’s chin, can be near impossible for some of us. It has nothing to do with lack of flexibility or strength, but more so a lack of communication between the mind and the body. And if we cannot control our own bodies, who can?

Finally, this phenomenon also reveals how cluttered our minds are, and from this, possibly, how unattainable peace might be. For how can you be at peace if your mind and body are unaccustomed to (1) working in tandem and (2) being still?

Being aware of each moment, observing what we are doing and what is going on, is actually quite difficult. Some consider it a form of meditation.

I prefer not to mention “meditation” as lots of people are quick to pipe up, “I can’t be still! I have to talk!”

Well, just observe every moment and experience. That’s sort of meditation.

An American Heart Association study revealed that those with heart disease who practised meditation regularly were almost 50% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared with those who attended a health education class over more than five years.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could exist in each moment? Aside from avoiding accidents and safety issues, it would be honouring our lives because we are only ever given one lifetime. Wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t celebrate each moment of it?

Originally published in the Sun newspaper.