I am fascinated by the concept of ‘being in the moment’- also referred to as ‘mindfulness’. The subject has gathered increasing attention as our techno- consumer world continues to rocket at lightning pace; blasting us with constant advertising and calls to action. With this ever-present distraction, being completely focussed and present in the moment becomes a distilled, distant illusion for many.
To get you aware on a very simple level about the difference of being truly in the moment- or ‘mindful’-as opposed to half-in-and-half-out, I’d like to set you a small, playful exercise which mirrors the one I set myself yesterday. Let me set the scene:
London was blessed with a gorgeous sunny day and I took myself of to The Royal Festival Hall for a few hours of work before meeting a client. As I rushed through Waterloo station and entered into the open air, I suddenly realised that I was so absorbed by the practicalities of my day that I was totally missing what was happening around me. The orientation of the day’s dinner (eat in or eat out? Italian or Indian?) and the preparation I needed to do for my friend’s hen do were my brains preoccupations. Becoming aware of this, I decided to set myself a very basic exercise. Rather than listening to my own inner chatter, I would pay attention to everything and everyone around me. I took in the furrowed brow of the guy marching past in the black suit, the silky hair of the lady directly ahead of me in the green khakis. I listened to the city churning, noticing and taking in the sound rather than having it as a distant background music to the movies in my mind. Absorbing the world around me in this way was refreshing, and by the time I got to my destination I felt freer, lighter and much more focussed.
I’d like to set you the same exercise. Next time you walk anywhere, perhaps on your walk to the tube station home- really observe everything around you- listen, watch and feel with all your senses. What differences do you notice?