I love to learn, perhaps even live to learn. I have several letters after my name as I have studied and completed a variety of different courses throughout the years. I never fully appreciated school when I was younger as I felt disdain for all the compulsory and mundane subjects that were necessary in order to get to the “good stuff”. For instance, a basic science course was required in university in order to achieve a Bachelor of Arts degree. Courses in economics and statistics were prerequisites for a degree in Social Work. Whatever is the logic for this? Just give me the courses in psychology and sociology that are of interest to me, the ones that will help me and benefit those who rely on me for my assistance in their daily struggles.
I am now at a stage in my life where I have the time to study a variety of topics that previously just were not possible. I heartily thank the Internet for making available to me an abundance of courses from universities around the world. I would like to focus on the course I am currently taking entitled De-Mystifying Mindfulness. The Universiteit Leiden in The Netherlands is my source for this one.
I have practiced meditation throughout most of my life. As a teenager, I was introduced to this art when I took yoga classes. I always looked forward to the body scan at the conclusion of the evening after contorting my body into all kinds of crazy positions. This was always a peaceful and calming time, until it was time to bundle up and head out into the frigid temperatures that are so characteristic of Winnipeg winters.
Now that I have more time to devote to meditation, I am beginning to fully realize just how important it is to live in the moment and to become fully aware of the present. I used to view meditation as a form of relaxation, but I now appreciate just how much of an influence mindfulness has on all my daily activities and I attempt to incorporate it into my life each and every day. I do not see mindfulness as merely taking the time for a quiet meditation in the evening. It has become more of a way of life for me where I strive to be mindful throughout the day.
Of course it isn’t always possible to fully concentrate or to turn my focus to one thing specifically. I have often found myself on autopilot when it comes to common routines. And I do have to caution myself against being judgmental and critical and resolving to do more and to do it better. All this does is cause a great deal of unnecessary pressure and stress. This then defeats the entire purpose of being mindful.
Because I strive to practice mindfulness regularly does not mean I am a Buddhist or any type of religious fanatic. I view mindfulness with more of a scientific as well as a therapeutic approach. We live in a highly technological society today, the end result being a faster pace of life along with the stress and anxiety that accompany this type of lifestyle. Instead of time becoming a helpful organizational tool, it is often a troublesome enemy instead. Multitasking and deadlines plague our lives as we set loftier and loftier goals for ourselves.
As I grow older, I find that the time flies by more quickly than ever with each passing year. I think back to when I wished that time would go by more quickly. Why was I ever in such a hurry? I can never recapture those unwanted moments that have somehow evolved into treasured moments.
I choose to focus on the present, to live in the here and now. If my mind wanders, I know that it’s always possible to return and begin again. After all, I do have a past that can never be forgotten, but it can be stored away safely. I refuse to fear my future but rather to embrace what may come my way. Inhale every breath deeply, and slowly exhale………….