Previous: muddy waters
Losing sight of who we are is an easy skill to develop. In fact, we tend to practice clouding our vision as a daily way of being. In order to get things done, we live much of our lives on autopilot. We walk into a room and forget why we went there. We go to the grocery store for milk, buy a bunch of stuff, and forget to buy the milk. We set out on our daily drive to work and can’t remember much of the trip there. We feel frustrated with our aging or preoccupation.
Bring to mind your day. When you woke up, were you aware of that moment of growing awareness of what it feels like to be in bed or were you already caught in the activities of the day to come? As you were showering, were you feeling the water on your body or were you already wondering how to get breakfast ready for yourself, your partner and/or your children? At breakfast, were you already in the car? When driving, were you already at that meeting with the boss or colleague that you were dreading? At any given time in the day, we are likely living a time zone or two away. Yet, if asked, we would probably say that we’re very aware of what we’re doing and where we’re going. We have maps, lists, plans, and beeping reminders on our computers or phones to tell us where we are in time and space. In fact, we get indignant if we’re told we’re not paying attention.
Just as the eye cannot see itself and the hand cannot grasp itself, it is hard for us to be aware of who we are in each moment. The busy mind carries us away at the speed of thought and we live in a world where that busy-ness is valued as something positive. At the same time, multitasking and rapid information processing is a necessity in our fast-paced world.
The problem is not that so much is going on in this moment. That’s the nature of mind; it’s a busy place that’s been described as being like a monkey that’s drunk and been stung by a bee. It swings rather wildly at times and there’s no predicting where it will end up. Problems arise when the peripheral issues trip up the primary intention.