Lesson I: Be here and now

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After the last post, my days have been quite intense. I have gone on a lot of walks through the Norwegian wood. I have been contemplating about life. Most of all, a slow but positive healing process seems to be going on. And I am happy with the way things are going. I can feel myself thinking about things in a different light. It has definitely not been an easy process but I have learnt to accept that self healing is a rigorous yet rewarding process.

thoughtsSo, what has changed since last time and why I decided things have to change? I have been in two devastating relationships that have left quite a lot of scars psychologically and physically. The funny thing is I am such a hopeless romantic that I don’t give up. I am with someone new now. This ride with him has been really amazing. He is a good human being with a beautiful pure heart and mind. But we had quite a difficult time mainly because of me. I am quite sure living with me hasn’t been easy for him. It was quite exhausting and stressful for both of us because of this roller coaster of a mood that I have. Last few weeks before he left was quite sad and stressful. We had fights and I could feel we were growing apart. I thought about it.

For a long time after he left, I went on a guilt trip. There were a lot of unanswered ‘whys?’. Why did I make him feel that way? Why did I behave like a crazy bitch? Why did I harass him, torture him and make his life unbearable? I couldn’t sleep at night. I would wake up all night thinking about where did I go wrong, what should I do to make things right and what will happen now. I also felt like maybe I should just quit. Instead of going through the same torturous ordeal, I should just break up with him for his and my own peace of mind. But then something inside me said, ‘No! Not this time!’ I thought to myself that running away and quitting are definitely not solutions. I need to address this issue. I need to change. I am not saying that everything is my fault. It was partly my fault and I decided that I will correct the part where I am wrong. So, I began to analyze about the things impersonally where my aim was not to find faults but see those experiences in a different light. Like an outsider or a spectator.

One of our main arguments have been: “But you don’t listen to me.” I always complain that he never listens to me. We had quite a lot of heated arguments because of that. He always defended himself by saying, ‘I’m sorry. I was reading/playing/writing or doing something. I can’t multitask. Can you repeat?’ And then I would lose my cool and be angry or sad. Now when I think about it, I realize that he was right in a way. His way of doing things are quite different than mine. I realized that when we are sitting here on the bed talking to each other, sharing our things and just floating, he actually listens to what I am saying. And he is right, he cannot multitask. When he is doing something else, it is quite natural of him not to listen to me. But me, being the master of multitasking, just didn’t understand why it is so difficult for him to listen to me when he is just doing something else. Why can’t he do whatever he is doing and listen to me as well?

Now I realized that it is because he has been practicing mindfulness for a long time. I have seen him doing tiny little thing with utmost care and attention. Of course, he is not a zen monk sitting there drinking his tea for an hour or so but he does concentrate on things he is doing. If he is reading something then he reads it with undivided attention. If he is out on a walk with someone, then he devotes his whole time to that person. He says it’s disrespectful of us to text someone else or check our facebook while we are with someone. And he is so right. Doesn’t my friend who has spared some time to be with me deserve my time and attention when s/he drinking coffee and talking to me? Doesn’t the book that I have been wanting to read deserve my full attention when I finally get my hands on it?

He was right all along. I question myself why do I take so much pride in being able to multitask when I am not able to enjoy the things that I do completely. What’s the point of letting the tea boil over or burning the food when I am busy doing the dishes? Why can’t I simply enjoy the thing I am doing without letting my mind wander around something else? Why can’t I enjoy the water dripping down my body while taking a shower without thinking about what to make for dinner or what to watch later tonight?

I went out on a walk thinking about these. And I found my answer. It’s because my body is here but my mind is not here. All my life I am either in the past or in the future. So, in truth I am never here. Even when I am walking out in the woods, my mind is wandering through the past experiences. Mind is funny. It has played those scenes over and over again and yet it keeps on playing scenes from the past or dreams about future. We are never actually aware of what is going on around us. Technology doesn’t help either. We are in constant need to be socially connected. One more post, one more picture, one more click and we keep going on and on. We just let everything around us slowly slip by our sides while we are busy looking at our phones.

Thus, in one of my recent walks I decided I will practice mindfulness in my everyday tasks. I decided that from now I will try to be here and now. I started out with incorporating mindfulness in two simple tasks that I really enjoy doing.

a) Taking a shower

b) Doing the dishes 🙂

serenityI simply tried to be aware of myself and things happening with me while doing these two simple tasks. It was very difficult in the beginning. I won’t say I have mastered it. I am still learning and it still is very difficult. Especially because these two things are too trivial and mundane. Who gives a shit about how the water is flowing when you are showering? Those incredible shower thoughts, those scenes from past, those plannings for future are obviously more interesting than the water dripping throughout the body or lather forming from the shower gel you just slithered on your skin. And of course, it is much easier to do the dishes mindlessly. No matter how much I enjoyed doing the dishes (weird?), my mind always drifted away into something else, something much more interesting than cleaning the grease out of my pan. But trust me, when I started being aware of myself and of the process of showering/dish washing, I realized the tiny little sensation that I felt when the hot water and soap touched my skin, I became aware of the smell, the vapour, the fizz, every drop and every ripple. It is actually meditative.

And the result? This post! This realization that I have put into words in this post is the result of the mindful showering and dish washing. I feel rejuvenated and surprisingly calm.  I just know that the journey to the self healing and mindful existence has begun. I will slowly try to incorporate mindfulness in other daily activities as well. I will share my experiences through this blog.

I read some interesting articles and watched some cool videos about mindfulness. I would like to share it with you.

* Learn how to be mindful in everyday activities

* Zen Habits

*Ten mindful minutes: A TED talk video 

*Meditation by Alan Watts (Boyfriend showed me this video. I’ve been watching his videos a lot lately. Highly recommended!)

* An interesting article about Alan Watts and Zen Buddhism.

*This song my friend shared on his spotify playlist has also been my companion and calmed my mind.

 

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