Pause, Breathe, Be Mindful...
We need to be more adaptable to change…
Change is intrinsic to our being. In fact, it is inherent to our existence. If you think about it, everything that surrounds us is in transition. For example, the day transforms into night, spring to summer; we change as we get older and wiser. Even our moods can change from hour to hour. Yet, surprisingly, there is one facet of our lives that seems to remain somewhat fixed, stubborn and unmoving. It is our conscious ability to adapt to change. There are many of us like this.
Most of us wake up in the morning and have a notion or idea of how the day should unfold. We expect certain things to happen at work because they are commonplace. Lunch arrives and we are confident that in the afternoon or evening it will be time to go home. Still, there are many factors that arise during our day that challenge us and can even turn a normal day into one of those “bad days” at work. Stress and anxiety are common factors at work for many people. Some of us can even have a “week from hell” as the challenges and unforeseen obstacles of life are thrown at us at all directions. Combine that with money, mortgages and children who need our attention after work and many of us are exhausted and wiped out by bed time. Why?
Because humans are not as adaptable to change as they should be. We like to control outcomes and control destinies. We plan, coordinate and organize then when challenges arise that are out of our control, we tend to suffer instead of prosper. Many of us get knocked away from our center of energy. There is nothing wrong with seeking out success and positive results but when things do not work out, it can create feelings of stress, anxiety and failure. Humans tend to cling to negative emotions and reprocess the same thoughts of guilt, worry and fear. For some people this is a daily occurrence that truly degrades the value of life.
There is another quality of life that is intrinsic to our being. There is another facet to our existence that is inherent and natural. It is the quality of space. If you think about it, there is a lot of space that surrounds us. Take the Cosmos for example: The Universe is vast, maybe infinite. Look out a window and you will find space outside. Gaze up into the sky at night – plenty of space! Look inward: Where do thoughts come from and where do they go? Does the mind have a border or periphery? The brain seems small, but the mind is vast in its perceived abilities and power.
There is a connection here. As we become more mindful of our surroundings and to the challenges that arise within those surroundings; we need to connect to this quality of space that exists around us and within the mind. Our minds, like the Universe, are vast and boundless realms where countless things are possible. Conversely, when we are closed off and lacking space within the mind and our surroundings, simple observations can lead to stress, fear, anxiety, exclusivity, and even anger. Without space, there is very little room between thoughts of intent and the subsequent actions that follow. We need to create space or gaps between our thoughts and stretch that reaction time between intent and blind reactions that can lead to suffering. When there is space surrounding us inward and outward our minds are peaceful, constructive and aware.
So, how do we make more space in our lives? It begins with simply having the confidence that this space exists. For many, yoga and meditation are great exercises in connecting to the qualities of space as it relates to the mind. When challenges arise, pause, breathe and connect to the space that exists around you and within you. Pause and focus on the space and awareness that is intrinsic to your being and then with mindfulness, approach your new challenge that has arisen in this space. Be aware of the gap between intent and action and stretch that gap – live in that gap of mindfulness.