Picture this – You are in the midst of an online meeting that you are attending; it is a meeting where your role is passive- that of a listener. A few minutes into the meeting and your thoughts start to wander.
How much better it was when things were normal! I wonder for how many more days or months this situation will continue? Will there be any end to this at all? All the plans that I had made, what happens to them…
This chain of thoughts continues. Suddenly you notice that all these thoughts have taken you away from the presentation; and it has left you feeling rather irritated with yourself. The mind games have started.
This feeling of irritation spreads – and it goes on to the meeting that you are in; probably to the speaker; and it lingers on long after the session is over. This situation may seem familiar to some of us.
Mind Games that we experience
These thoughts arise as the human mind, playing mind games, forever keeps swaying between the experienced past and an unseen future. It keeps churning out either pain or pleasure from the past, depending on how one is feeling overall; and accordingly it creates a painful or pleasurable future as well. This is a conditioning that almost all of us have and is what keeps replaying itself on our mental screens – over & over again. The result – an agitation from what seems to be an invisible source – there, yet still not there. And this only further adds to all the mental chaos.
In between the past and the future, the only place where the mind doesn’t seem to go or remain, is in the ‘present moment’ – the now.
Being in the Now
All along, our ancient scriptures and the collective wisdom of achievers and innovators alike, keeps pointing to the power of the present moment.
So, what is it about the present moment that seems to repel the human mind from going there? What is it in the present that seems to be so slippery for the mind to sustain? Why do we slip into the mind games? Why don’t we seem get a grip over being in the now?
While the questions are many, the answer can probably be found in the fact that the human mind is programmed for survival; and the ability to survive seems to stem from dealing with familiar situations, rather than exploring unchartered newer situations. This data stems from the past, our experiences with what has actually happened with us; or even situations that we may have heard from someone else.
So, how does one evolve from this pattern of the human mind? How does one explore newer grounds for breakthrough success?
Get Mindful, to get out of the Mind Games
The answer to the mind games lies in building a forgotten skill. A skill that we often take for granted; this is the skill of building and nurturing our attentional skills, i.e. training our mind’s ability to focus consciously on a chosen object or situation for a time period that we want to.
This ability is what gets referred to for a lack of a better word – as being mindful.
So, how does being mindful help?
Being mindful can help in a variety of ways:
- To start with, it can help you free yourself from the shackles of the past.
- It can help to become detached from the anxieties of an uncertain future
- And, it can help remain in the present moment.
Growth comes from not being stuck in the conditionings of our past; rather it comes from being more present in the resourcefulness of the now.
To end with, here’s a very inspiring quote from Thich Nhat Hanh – a Vietnamese Thien Buddhist monk – “Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life.”
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