In The Moment Is Where It's At
A friend of mine said a while ago that most things in life ultimately rely on the quantum detail. I didn’t think too much about this at the time but over the last few months have found myself increasingly contemplating and agreeing with his statement. It’s never about simply doing something but always about the way in which we do it; the amount, the frequency, the timing, the minute components of that thing and how they interact and work together to create the end result.
To not focus on the quantum means to merely scrape the surface, avoiding expending too much energy on a particular problem or plan. But when we dig a little deeper, analyse the detail, and dedicate more thought to the ins and outs of whatever the issue is, we arrive at an answer that really works, that gives satisfaction and lasting outcomes.
When we avoid consideration of the quantum, we are opting for the easy route. And yet this lack of thought never brings about the best solutions, only half-baked measures that often fail at the first hurdle.
To give an example; have you ever eaten a truly perfect pasta dish in Italy? Experienced the earthy flavours of tomatoes grown under a beautiful Tuscan sun? Inhaled the fragrance of fresh basil picked from a lush garden that’s bursting with vitality, and enjoyed authentic, homemade tagliatelle, the recipe for which has been passed from generation to generation? If you have, then you’ll know there’s a massive difference between this dish and the supermarket equivalent – that bland, congealed mush that masquerades as the same meal but is - because of the ingredients, mass production, lack of care and love – a completely different animal.
More and more, I am recognising how this principle applies to almost every aspect of life. You can say you’re meditating, but unless you do it in a peaceful space, commit to it every day (or at the very least, on a fairly regular basis), allow yourself the time and mental space to fully relax and slide pleasantly into the realms of the subconscious, then you are not meditating; you are sitting still for ten minutes itching to crack on with the next job (and I know this because I’ve done exactly that).
You can say you’re going to spend more quality time with family but if in reality you are checking your mobile every five minutes, thinking about jobs you still have to do, hurrying the activity along as fast as you can so you can move on to something else, you’re not spending quality time with the family – you are going through the motions and probably making those you’re with feel awkward and uncomfortable as it’s so obvious you don’t want to be there.
I’ve done that too.
There are so many ways in which we cheat our way out of doing the things we’ve promised ourselves we will do. We pay lip service to our commitments and convince ourselves we are doing what we said we would. Another example: using a diet app to log your food/calorie intake, except you shave off all the high-calorie indulgences and end up with a distorted record of everything you have eaten. Or promising yourself you will not drink and then making allowances for a cheeky glass of wine with dinner because that’s OK (it’s sociable, harmless, normal…everyone has got to let their hair down, right?).
The more I concentrate on engaging in something properly, mindfully, with all my energy, the more I get the results I want. The more it works. The more I want to do it because I see that it’s helping me live a more fulfilled, calmer, enjoyable life.
I guess this just boils down to ‘mindful living’: not just gliding along, barely noticing our surroundings, not feeling things properly, not engaging with people fully, not experiencing our emotions one-hundred per cent because we are too busy thinking about what lies around the corner… But instead, living a real life, one in which we are absolutely present, always in the moment.
More than anything else (even running, one of my big saviours), mindfulness has helped me get over the damage caused by my drinking. There are huge benefits in this practice for everyone, but especially those who are attempting to overcome self-destructive behaviours.
Mindfulness is a big help to anyone trying to overcome destructive behaviours...