Stepping Out of Time
“Don’t just do something – sit there.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
I am willing to bet that you don’t have the time to read this, do you? We all seem in such a rush these days and on a path of high-speed and high stress living, full of deadlines and fast food, power naps and speed dating. Our politicians cannot see beyond the next set of opinion polls, neither the financial markets beyond the next quarter. Our attention spans are shorter with the advent of the internet and social networking and we want things to happen fast in this age of instant communication. It’s no surprise that we are left stressed and ill by the way we live.
We need to start thinking longer term and free ourselves from this idea of ‘time’. We fill our diaries with plans and appointments, worry about the future and fret about the past, forgetting to live in the current moment. We need to take time out and hit the pause button.
I believe we can make a start by learning to live in the present moment through the art of mindfulness. From managing low mood, anxiety and pain, to enhancing creativity, kindness and compassion, hundreds of scientific studies suggest mindful awareness is beneficial to our well-being. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is even available on the NHS as a treatment for recurrent depression.
Mindfulness is certainly not a quick fix and does require commitment and practice, but we can retrain our brains and bodies to feel more at peace and content. By paying attention to our breath and bringing awareness to sensations of touch and sound, we slow down enough to notice what’s happening to our minds and bodies and everything around us. This is ‘real’ time management. We are slaves to our economic masters, but things can and need to change, starting at an individual level. I don’t think we’re ‘wasting time’ if we want to find out what’s really important in our lives. If you knew you only had 12 hours to live, what would you do? And what’s stopping you from doing those things now?