Bringing Our Minds Back From The Netherworld’s
I like to observe my thoughts from time to time.
Do you ever do that? Like just randomly throw your head back a little, close your eyes, and peep at everything swirling around in there?
I know, it’s not super easy to do sometimes.
Especially when we have thoughts that serpentine past our conscious awareness and drag us into the netherworld’s of the past and future all of the time.
Just the other morning while reading a book, I caught my mind bouncing from one unrelated thought to another.
Do I have enough fuel in the tank to make it all the way to work or should I leave the house 5 minutes early to stop for gas?
Should I rewrite that first paragraph or leave it alone?
Did I send that email to my boss yesterday or is it stuck in drafts?
Wait, did I leave my shaker bottle at work?
This is all happening while I was reading a book mind you. All of my mental energy was scattered into different, non-existent circumstances. My mind was everywhere but in the book.
That evening, I sat down with that same book but this time I made sure to concentrate on every word, every punctuation mark, the mood of the writing, the rhythm of the author.
I didn’t just read, I plunged into the book. If my mind inched away into something else, I reeled it right back into the story, into the here and now.
By the time I was done, I realized I had read more pages than I ever have in one sitting, had better recall of the subject matter, and, most importantly, all of the unrealized problems I was mentally running off to had vanished.
Wait, so if we actually pay attention to what we’re doing we can get more done and we’ll improve the quality of the experience?
Yeah, I know, sort of a no-brainer.
But, if it was such a no-brainer then we wouldn’t be all over the place with our thoughts. Right?
When we consciously force our minds to adhere to the present as opposed to doing what it prefers — you know, like, drift off into the netherworld’s of the past and future — our life suddenly becomes buoyant, enriching.
Try it for yourself the next time you find your mind all over the place. Force all of your thought power to converge on whatever it is you’re doing in the moment. It might take a few rounds of practice but it’s worth it.