Today I thought about Barack Obama while I did yoga. I also thought about other less admirable politicians (Donald Trump, Scott Morrison and so on). I realise it’s not what I should have been doing during class. I should have been 100 percent present, focusing on my breath. In and out. In with love, out with hate. In with joy, out with fear. In with…well, you get the picture.
But I wasn’t. And then I thought about why I wasn’t. And on it went. You can tell my brain wasn’t ready to let go this morning.
With so much going on these days, it can be really challenging to switch off and just be present. At this point, I know many of you will start thinking about that lovely trendy word ‘mindfulness’. But, before you do that, I want you to step back and take another look at what I’m really talking about.
I’m talking about being present. A quivering moment in time when you are simply here. It’s not about your mind at all. My mind was in charge for some of my yoga session this morning. And watching my thoughts, mindfully, was not going to help.
The answer does not require thinking, but being. Being here.
You may argue and say, we need to control our minds. But what I’m suggesting, actually no, that sounds way too uncommitted. What I’m saying is that all this focus on our minds is not serving us. What if it is simply about focusing on now?
This morning what eventually brought me back, was my breath. In and out. It wasn’t thinking more about the thoughts that were scurrying through my head about the lamentable state of political leadership here and in the United States.
A friend said recently that, what you focus on, you get more of. She’s a pretty wise chick so, by her measure, the more you think about what you’re thinking about, the more thoughts you will have.
So please, please, stop thinking about your mind and how you can control it and make it submit to your will. Honestly, it’s always going to be there, hanging out in your skull and attempting to twist you into knots when it’s feel like partying.
Focus instead on presence, on your breath. Focus on being here, right now. Don’t focus on the marauding thoughts raping and pillaging your mental faculties. Don’t pay them any mind at all (sorry, bad pun but I couldn’t resist).
I know I’m making it all sound deceptively easy and I know it’s really not simple to do. My yoga class this morning is an example of my own brief ‘epic fail’ in this department.
But trust me, eventually, when you use a focus point like breath, all those marauding thoughts eventually gallop off back to where they came from. They really do.
So, forget for a moment or two about your mind and about controlling it. Focus instead on being here, nothing else, and let all the rest go.