I can remember being mindless on many occasions but one day stands out. I was living in Singapore and on this particular day, I was busy with my children who were home from school. I was making sure they did their homework, that dinner was being prepared and I had one eye on the clock as I had a session with a coaching client that evening.
When the time came to leave the apartment, my head was full of instructions for my husband about what needed to be done and I left in a rush grabbing my keys and my phone. Once I got to my office, I relaxed and settled in, getting my notebook, pen and mobile phone out of my bag. I realised as I looked for my phone that I had brought the handset for the landline phone with me and not my mobile phone.
It’s funny now but at the time I was struck by how distracted I had been and how my busy mind with its internal chatter had me going through the motions. I wasn’t fully present in that moment and I hadn’t been actively engaged with my children or what needed to be done.
Being aware that you’ve got a busy mind or that you’re getting distracted and pulled away from living mindfully is great as it’s the first step in moving towards being mindful more often.
Here are some signs that tell you you’re living life mindlessly:
Not listening to people
You might find that when you’re listening to someone for example your child, husband or colleague, your mind is elsewhere or you’re thinking of what your reply will be. Or you might frequently say ‘not now’ or ‘can we talk about this later’ as you’re too busy and distracted to deal with them.
Checking your phone and computer constantly
Feeling like you need to know what’s going on or looking for something new to read or watch. Maybe you feel the need to reply to every email and text immediately.
This internal narrative that we all have, is made up of thoughts that can keep us stuck in the past or the future.
We make up stuff about what we should have said or will say and come up with elaborate scenarios about things that will probably never happen. All your head space is taken up with living in these two time frames and the one place you’re not in is in the present moment.
Do you rush through a meal without paying attention to what you’re eating and without having a real conversation with the people you’re with?
Letting Life Happen to You
Okay…this is a tricky one to pick up on but try it out. You constantly feel like life is happening to you and that you have no control…you’re at the mercy of your circumstances. You spend the majority of your time reacting to life, rather than living it.
So how can you begin to be more mindful of your experiences in life?
Begin to experiment with understanding where your experience of life is coming from.
Living mindlessly is a habit and disengaging from it doesn’t take effort once you understand where your experience of life comes from.
You experience everything through the power of Thought. You live in the feeling of your thoughts not your circumstances.
Once you begin to see that life doesn’t happen to you but life comes through you, you no longer live life on autopilot quite so much. There will be plenty of times where you’ll forget this but that’s fine, we are not looking for perfection here.
So have a look to see how this is true for you in your life.
If you’d like to discuss this or learn more about living mindfully, then please contact me to book a free 60 minute Insight call.