We have all heard the term mindfulness by now. If you haven’t I give you a bit of an explanation. All it means is being present in this moment. Your thoughts, your feelings, and your attention are focused on right here and right now.
We find ourselves all too often “getting out ahead of ourselves.” We attempt to plan for the future, have some kind of power over what will happen, and be present in that moment “out there” so we can make sure it will all go “ok.”
However, this is where most all of our anxiety comes from. It comes from us attempting to be an all knowing, all powerful, ever present being. We attempt to play God in our lives. When we do this, we are attempting to manage and control things that are not within our ability to control. When we take our emotional, physical, and spiritual energy and give it to things we can’t control it gets wasted. We then have no energy to mange the things that are actually within our control. We feel anxious, depressed, scared, and angry.
So mindfulness is simply noticing that we are doing that with our thoughts. It is noticing that we have all these swirling thoughts going on, like the jar in the picture above. When all those thoughts and energies are swirling like those we cannot see or think clearly about what we need to do. However, if we let those thoughts settle, like the glitter in the jar above will when it sits for a minute, we will be able to see and think clearly. We will be able to take action on the things we truly control and our anxiety, anger, depression, and fear will decrease.
Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6 that we cannot add anything to our lives by getting out ahead of ourselves. This is what he is talking about. We can only live in this present moment. We are reminded that the grass and the birds don’t get out ahead of themselves and they are doing well. So anytime you find yourself thinking “Oh man what am I going to do about that…..,” remember birds and flowers don’t even have the capacity to think like that and they are ok. If they can’t even think out ahead of themselves we should not be doing it either.
So the next time you find yourself out ahead of yourself, attempting to be God and control it all “out there,” take some deep breaths and practice FOFBOC. Yes I said FOFBOC. Sit down in a chair and take a deep breath in and feel your FEET ON THE FLOOR. Focus your attention on how that feels and how your body feels. Then take another deep breath and focus on your BUTT ON THE CHAIR. How it feels to sit, to breath, to relax into this moment. Repeat this process many times. This allows all those other thoughts about “out there” to settle and go away. Your attention is taken from those to right here, right now. You begin to see clearly again. You can then focus on what you can actually do something about.