One of the biggest benefits I have felt from practicing mindfulness is being more conscious of my “autopilot” moments throughout the day. We have all these moments:
-Leaving home without your briefcase or purse
-Did you lock the front door or not?
-Driving to work on a Saturday morning (this happened a few times for me)
-Being stuck in rigid routines, and frustrated if those routines are not followed
-Losing focus, constantly forgetting what you were supposed to accomplish
-Emotional detachment, just going through the motions of your life
-Do you ask people how they are doing and not wait for them to answer?
Click here for an in-depth article on mindlessness, and how to overcome it.
Before I began practicing mindfulness I would have most of these things happen to me every day. I never felt “present” in my own life. I felt like an empty shell going through the motions until better things came along. I looked forward to vacations, or the weekend, without any regard to how to maximize my happiness in the present moment. Often we are so focused on the future that we overlook the present and we don’t put our full effort into it. These mindless moments are incredibly depressing, and keep you from maximizing your full potential every day. If you’re not running your life, who is, or is your life running you?
The fundamental goal of mindfulness mediation is to make the most of the present moment. It helps you to snap out of these mindless moments, and to absorb what is happening around you. Much like the websites that promise increased memory and mental abilities from playing their intellectual games, mindfulness mediation increases your brain activity and can maximize your efficiency.
Is everything going to be perfect? Like I said before, you are still going to have days where your temper, frustration, or lack of energy gets the best of you. But even if you have these moments of mindlessness, with mindfulness meditation you will be able to snap out of it sooner. You realize that you may have a bad morning, but that doesn’t mean you have to have a bad day, or even let it continue to steamroll into a bad week.
Practicing mindfulness has increased the passion I feel every day of my life. Jokes are funnier, my friend’s problems are more important, and work is a challenge worthy of my best effort. I have deeper relationships with my wife and my family, and I am happier than I have ever been. Awake out of your autopilot, take hold of the controls, and soar. You are better than what have been settling for, and now is the time to take action. Our mortality adds sweet satisfaction and importance to each and every day; we never know when our number is going to be called.
Why waste even a single moment to mindless routines, emptiness, and knee jerk reactions? Start analyzing what you’re doing and why you do it. Begin sharpening your mind, and make the most of every experience. Hug your loved ones like you mean it, do your job as if you’re competing for an award, and plan each day to the fullest. You only get one turn on this merry-go-round so enjoy every second, don’t postpone your satisfaction to a day that may never come!