“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” ― Abraham Lincoln.
Welcome onboard the flotilla that is forming alongside #TeamDuke as we continue to navigate the joyful waters of 2017. And, I’ve got to say I choose to be happy. Why not? Today, is the first day of the rest of our lives and, on that basis, it’s the start of the world as we know it.
Before I continue to paddle you through this latest splodge of words, I want to share a pretty inspirational set of words from Jay Shetty. I saw the video of this speak at a session about mental well being in the work place – a subject I have a really passion on. To be fair that passion is about mental well being in its entirety. There are too many people who are hiding their well being challenges as the whole subject on mental health still carries a stigma. That has to change.
Anyway, during an inspirational presentation from someone who bravely talked about her own challenges, she introduced a video of Jay. Please have a read.
“Albert Einstein famously remarked in a conversation with Werner Heisenberg, “You know in the west we’ve built a beautiful ship, and it has all the comforts. But actually the one thing that it doesn’t have is a compass and that’s why it doesn’t know where it’s going.”
This paradox of our times was propounded by the Dalai Lama when he said, “We have wider freeways but narrower viewpoints. We have taller buildings but shorter tempers.”
Will Smith said that we spend money we haven’t earned on things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.
And it’s phenomenal how the same technology that brings us close to those who are far away takes us far away from people that are actually close. 30 billion WhatsApp messages are sent per day, but 48 percent of people say that they feel lonelier in general.
The paradox of our times is that we have more degrees but less sense. More knowledge but less judgement. More experts but fewer solutions.
It was Martin Luther King Jr. who said that the irony of our time is that we have guided missiles but misguided men. Have you ever found it perplexing that you’ve been all the way to the moon and back but you struggle to start a conversation across the road or across the bus?
It’s amazing that Bill Gates was known as the top earner of 2015 with a wealth of $79.2 billion but one in four CEOs claims to be struggling with depression.
Do we actually thrive on this paradox? Is it that this paradox actually makes the media interesting, it’s what makes journalism interesting, it’s what makes politics interesting, it’s what makes television interesting?
Is this paradox actually what we feed off and what we live off and what we talk about and discuss in our circles? Doesn’t it seem that we’ve tried to clean up the air but polluted our soul, we’ve split the atom but not our prejudice, and we’re aiming for higher incomes but we have lower morals? So how do we bring a change?
Well, it starts with us, each of us pressing pause, pressing reset, and then pressing play again.
Taking a moment to become more conscious, taking a moment to become more aware, taking a moment to really reflect on the consequence, the implication of a misplaced word of an unnecessary argument that we all know we didn’t need to have, or to speak to someone just slightly differently in a different tone, in a different voice, in a different empathy, with a different perspective. Just to really connect with people on a different level.
This, thinking out loud, started from Albert Einstein when he actually said that the problems we have today can’t be solved with the same thinking that we used when we once created them.
We need to research alternative teachings and dig deep down into these ancient books of wisdom.
We need to go back to understanding if there’s anything written in those creased pages of time that can actually reveal more knowledge and more wisdom of how we can transform our experience of life today.
Otherwise, this paradox means that every step forward we take, we’re taking three backwards every time.” – Jay Shetty (Changing the world starts with you)
Inspirational words! I strongly recommend that you look up the video on YouTube, his passion shines through brightly.
I was particularly drawn to the words towards the end – ‘how we can transform our experience of life today.‘ I think they relate to a wider context but, for me, these words really link to many other things.
As regular followers will know, I practice mindfulness to the best of my ability. I try to bring this into my life to help me to bring order and calmness – particularly when things get disorderly and hectic.
Mindfulness is still a relatively recent practice- at least by definition.
I was interested to find that here in that a report on mindfulness was published 2 years ago by the Mindfulness All-party Parliamentary Group – Mindful Nation UK. I’m amazed I didn’t know.
In the report I was drawn to the definition of mindfulness: –
“Mindfulness means paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment in the mind, body and external environment, with an attitude of curiosity and kindness.
It is typically cultivated by a range of simple meditation practices, which aim to bring a greater awareness of thinking, feeling and behaviour patterns, and to develop the capacity to manage these with greater skill and compassion.
This is found to lead to an expansion of choice and capacity in how to meet and respond to life’s challenges, and therefore live with greater wellbeing, mental clarity and care for yourself and others.”
Just imagine a world where everyone on this beautiful planet that we call home paid attention to what is happening in the present moment in the mind, body and external environment, with an attitude of curiosity and kindness. Just imagine.
But, reality is, everyone can. As Abraham Lincoln suggests, we can if we make up our minds to do it.
Mindfulness is a choice and, I have found, with that choice we can raise that greater awareness of thinking, feeling and behaviour patterns, and a development in the capacity to manage these with greater skill and compassion (as the wonderful Mindfulness All-party Parliamentary Group informed us).
I know I tread the boards (or some may say ‘boreds’) of mindfulness regularly but I really want to raise awareness to as many as possible. It is something that I am trying to bring into my daily routine – and, being honesty, with varying degrees of success.
However, every morning, I get the perfect opportunity when I take Ringo for his walk. Just me, the dog and his lead as we venture into fresh air and nature. The perfect time to pay attention to what’s happening in that exact moment in the mind, body and external environment, with an attitude of curiosity and kindness. To focus the moment. To filter away all other thoughts. To listen to the birds. To, at the moment, breathe in the autumn air. To focus my eyes ahead, not looking down, but at a spot somewhere in the distance. To exercise and just be. Magic!
Now, whilst I would advocate that everyone should get a dog, that’s not going to happen? However, what about everyone pledging to themselves to have a 20 minutes walk – minimum – after we get out of bed. And to use that time to – pay attention to what’s happening in that exact moment in our mind, body and external environment, with that wonderful attitude of curiosity and kindness.
And if we can’t do it at the start of the day, what about at the end? In fact, let’s try both. Get that step count working.
I know it’s simple stuff and many people will wonder what the fuss is all about. Well, here’s where to grab a piece of honesty from my privacy locker – being someone who lives with depression, which is ready and waiting to sweep in, mindfulness is a daily need to keep that depression in check. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hiding from it. I know it’s there. But, by starting the day with a mindfulness exercise – a wide awake meditation, if you like – I am training my mind to deal with it.
It’s like Jay Shetty said – it starts with us, each of us pressing pause, pressing reset, and then pressing play again. That ability to reset is so important. We all know that things happen in life where the reset button isn’t that easy to press. But, over time, through consistently practicing mindfulness it will become easily for those more difficult challenges to start fading, fading, fading.
Of course, I am just one part of #TeamDuke. If the whole collective of #TeamDuke started to practice mindfulness in earnest, and then started to share the joys of mindfulness with their friends and extended families. And they in turn did the same – it’s that 1 5 10 multiplier factor that I have spoken about before.
And, there we have it. Mindfulness. The future. If we could all embrace it, it truly would be the start of the world as we know it, and we all would feel fine.
Thanks for joining me on another cascade our if my even inquisitive mind. I’m now going to do a bit more book work.