At the end of our last mindfulness session last week, our teacher asked if she could share a short Zen story with the group.
A man is riding on top of a horse that is galloping by frantically as if he has to be somewhere important as soon as possible. A bystander sees this and asks the man, “Where are you going?”
The rider replies, “I don’t know, ask the horse!”
I love this. It’s a great story because it sums up how when we get swept up in all our busyness we can easily lose our sense of control over where we are going and why we set out in the first place.
Or is that just me?
Are you one of those tortured by their own minds at night, tossing and turning in fitful and unrefreshing sleep, thinking about, well everything your mind has decided you need to think about at 3 am?
Do you ever feel your head is so full of brain fog, thick, dense swirling clouds of thoughts that you have no hope of finding the solution you seek?
One of the things I have learned from my practice of mindfulness meditation is how our mind loves to slip into overdrive given half, or even a snippet of a chance.
The benefits of mindfulness include:
– Greater conscious control over our thoughts, and the ability to respond without judgement.
– The ability to see the bigger picture, a broader perspective and reduction of the often chaotic and emotional attachments we apply to our thought filters.
– Greater compassion towards ourselves, and others. Instead of feeling threatened, discouraged, or even hostile towards those we perceive as having said something we consider hurtful or judgmental, we can choose to reflect on the validity of that perception.
Every day brings different events, different circumstances and different people into our lives. How we experience those influences our level of productivity, our effectiveness in communicating, our degree of collaboration, even our level of happiness.
How can mindfulness help us at work?
Mindfulness provides leverage over our:
Because what if, you could overcome the frustration and stress of not completing work on time or to the level you know you are capable of by producing a different outcome?
What if, instead of allowing your mental energy to be sucked into horrible office politics you could restore your vitality, motivation and engagement?
What if, you could cut through all the clutter and chaos of distraction and focus on creating new and innovative ideas?
Mindfulness can help you direct your focus and enjoy a sense of greater calm, clarity of thought and confidence of purpose.
It may not change you into a saint, but mindfulness does change how you think.
Dr Jenny Brockis with some great suggestions and questions about mindfulness. One of the simplest and most powerful ways to maintain control under pressure is to breathe. Long, deep, concious breaths send a clear signal to our body and mind that everything is ok. Breathing is a physiological switch. Try it next time you notice you are feeling rushed or pressured. Plant both feet flat on the ground, and take at least 3 long slow breaths with a 2 second pause in between. Often that’s all it takes to stop the horse from bolting and get back in control.