Meditations – Slowing Down: Reading Environmental Clues

Sunrise Light by Tim CarlThe key to finding more time is by using the time we have more effectively.

Most of spend our time split between three areas: 1. the past, 2. the future, and 3. the present.  If you are like most of us, you spend only a tiny fraction actually in #3…the present.  How odd is that?  We really only have one real time – the present – and we only spend, lets say 20% of our time residing there.

We sit around thinking about what we’ll be doing next, not even paying attention to what we are doing right now.  Then our minds flit to some past event, and we spend time critique, maybe regretting, what we should / could have said about this or that to some person, maybe a person that we perceive as doing us harm.  We move from worrying about a future that will never exist (your imagination is about as far from the real future as it gets), or fretting about a past that will never exist again.  All the while spending no time in the only time that does exist.

How strange is that?

As an example, you might sit there at work thinking about the rest you’ll get on the weekend and how much fun it will be to see your friends, thinking how tough work is and how hard it is to advance in the company, and maybe that that other person got a promotion when you clearly deserved it more.  However, If you work to spend time in the present, you’ll end up focusing on the task at hand, which will result in your do better and your being more productive.  This will end up leading you to becoming more happy and satisfied.  You will know that the work you did was the level of work that you are capable of.  All this and you will actually feel less tired at the end of the day.

So, simply spending time in the present will make you happy, healthy, more productive, and more rested.  It is as close to magic as I’ve ever seen.

Try this to help you slow down and being in the present.  Next time you are in a car and there is someone that gets in front of you and is driving slow, just slow down behind them.  Do not rush past with a frustrated glance.  Just slow down. Enjoy this moment.  What are you experiencing at this moment.  Anxiousness?  Acknowledge the feeling. Breathe in.

Now feel your hands on the steering wheel. Feel your foot on the gas pedal. Acknowledge your distance from the car in front of you. Listen to the traffic sounds.  How often do we drive without even being aware of driving!  Take a deep breath and thank the driver in front of you.  They have given you a great gift.  You are now aware that you are here, now.  If it helps you from getting frustrated, think that this person is saving you from an accident that may have occurred if you were speeding along.  Or a ticket.  The point is that you should be thankful for this experience.

You might be saying, ‘wait, I’ll be late.’  I say, if you got the ticket or in an accident, you’d be really late.  Plus, you might find that you are actually not late at all.  Time is relative, after all.

Here is the take home:

  • Remain in the present at every opportunity
  • Use environmental clues to help you slow down
  • Look for opportunities to find ways to become more grateful

Always We Hope — Lao Tzu

tree fort by Tim CarlAlways We Hope — Lao Tzu

Always we hope
someone else has the answer,
some other place will be better,
some other time,
it will turn out.

This is it.

No one else has the answer,
no other place will be better,
and it has already turned out.

At the center of your being,
you have the answer:
you know who you are and
you know what you want.

There is no need to run outside
for better seeing,
nor to peer from a window.
Rather abide at the center of your being:
for the more you leave it,
the less you learn.

Search your heart and see
the way to do is to be.

Abide at the center of your being.

Likes and Dislikes

Stone by Tim Carl

The mind is a funny thing — it will try and trick you. And the more you succumb, the more it takes control. Sounds like a conspiracy? Think about your mind like a little puppy. The puppy wants to tear things up, eat garbage, snap at heels, bark as loud and as often as it wants. If you don’t train your puppy and give it guidelines, it will often become unruly, unwelcome, and often vicious. If it runs the show, it will make those around it miserable.

Here are some exercises to get your mind trained.

1) Eat foods you don’t like, but that you know are good for you. Spinach? Eggplant? Fish? Tofu? Eat the food until you enjoy it. Try different recipes. You will enjoy it eventually. Really.

2) Do not hit the snooze alarm. Get up when the alarm goes off.

3) Become more accepting. Listen to folks that you don’t agree with, or even like. Work on this by listening to radio programs / TV hosts that really get under your skin. Take the offending person’s point of view and defend it to someone, sincerely.

4) Become less sensitive to what you might call “petty annoyance.” When someone is doing something that annoys you (like chewing with their mouth open), gain control over yourself and see if you can make the situation palatable, if not even enjoyable. What is the sound of chewing like? Think about how amazing it is that we can chew, that food can be broken down so quickly and efficiently. Find a way to like something about the “offending” person.

Gain control over your mind by gaining control over your likes and dislikes. If you do, you will become more happy, healthy and balanced.