Today…I am struggling. I have no clue what to write about. I currently have three different documents opened all named ‘#21 Reflections’ with the skeleton of three different ideas drafted.
Yet for some reason, I am struggling to articulate.
My mind seems to be racing around today. It kind of a feedback loop where the more I can’t think of an idea to write, the more my mind is racing which inevetiably makes it harder to focus on writing.
The irony though.
Since it was only yesterday I was reading about the importance of being present and I had decided to make a change.
I woke up with the intention of having a more mindful day. I focused on the task at hand- brushing my teeth, pouring my smoothie, walking to the gym. But then towards the end of my gym session, I realised I’d overran and I was going to be late for work. Mindfulness flew out the window and by 9 am, my brain was back to its overdrive mode, filled with to do lists, deadlines and the rest.
I currently even have a throbbing headache. I’m not sure if that’s the after effect of jumping from mindfulness to emergency mode in a split second.
But with that being said, I might as well share what I read yesterday that made me attempt a bit of mindfulness in my morning.
We’re willing to be present at certain times…but we still want to be distracted when we choose to be distracted. We spend time at work dreaming about going on a beach vacation, but then, on the beach, long-awaited drink in hand, we’re annoyed to find that we can’t stop thinking about work.
We are training our minds to be where we physically aren’t.
(Think Like A Monk)
Mindfulness for me
The thing is I am and have always been completely down for the idea of being present, mindful, etc. Being on your phone with someone when you are in the physical company of other friends, or watching a movie and texting are things that I completely stand against.
Additionally the concept of ‘khushu’ in Islam, the concept of being fully focused and present in your acts of worship, sits very similarly with the idea of mindfulness.
A waste of time
However, on the other hand I have never been a fan of being ‘completely present’ when washing the dishes or being ‘completely there’ on my walk. To me it felt like mindfulness here was more of an excuse to waste time.
There are many pockets of moments in my day where I am doing tasks that don’t require focus, whether it’s laundry or commuting or walking. It feels unproductive to just wash dishes or just walk when I could, for example, listen to a podcast at the same time, allowing me to increase my knowledge.
But the quote above explains the problem of being selectively mindful. Every time you decide that this certain activity does not require me to be mindful, you are essentially training your brain to become less present.
You’re almost teaching your brain to make it a habit to not focus.
Which means the moments you want to be mindful and focused become more difficult because your brain doesn’t know how to!
This is exactly why so many of us struggle with khushu in our salaah.
Khushu and mindfulness
If the only activity in our day we want our brain to focus and be present in is Salaah, but every other activity that day involves us multi-tasking, whizzing around and thinking of a million things, how can we expect our brain to be able to suddenly switch to focus in Salaah.
It’s interesting because that means our methods of being ultra-productive, ie. multi-tasking, podcasting speeches for every mundane moment, might be the very reason why we are unable to attain a high level of khushu in our acts of worship.
Thinking about this made me realize that maybe I do need to embrace mindfulness more holistically. Maybe there is benefit learning to be present in every moment, from the morning walks to the dish washing.
Also, so much within Islam points towards living each moment mindfully from the duas that we are taught to recite as we do any action to verses within the Quran. But I shall leave that for another post.