I wanted to find out if by practicing focusing on my breath, could I still maintain a mindfulness, ‘presence’ while doing my job. I figured that, out of all the techniques out there, half-focusing on my breath and half-thinking about the task at hand would be the best balance at being mindful while being at the workplace.
I wanted to give it just 7 days to see how it planned out.
Well, needless to say, I’ve learned a lot in those 7 days…I’ve learned more about how my mind worked, and I’ve also learned a lot about breathing while trying to focus on doing the task at hand.
I was able to stay somewhat present, although in the end I had to use a different technique altogether to achieve this.
The first thing I noticed was that I had to actually remember to be present to begin with. While this may not sound much, our EGO-based culture has ensured that mindfulness is more of a novelty than a minimum required way of living.
As such, I had to constantly remind my-self that I had to be, ‘present’ for this week due to this experiment.
This wasn’t easy.
As noted in my first article, I do tend to fantasize a lot, so actually remembering to be, ‘present’, when my imagination had far more fun and important things to think about was initially very difficult.
However, with reminders, I found myself actually enjoying the moment of remembering and being, ‘present’. Of course, that meant that I had to spend less time in my fantasy world, and more time here in physicality…which meant that I had to actually solve current problems that I was facing.
The weird thing was, while I was fantasying, my problems were automatically amplified. When I was, ‘present’, most of them seemed to just work themselves out. Food for thought;-)
Secondly, I had to actually implement a new technique to being mindful while doing tasks.
I couldn’t keep focusing on my breath and concentrating at the task at hand. I had to use more mental processing power than I originally thought.
True, focusing on your breath while thinking is doable, but the mental power is actually very small. Or to put it another way, if it is a very mundane task, like cleaning your house, focusing on your breath would probably keep you relatively, ‘present’.
However, for more complicated tasks, where more mental thought was needed for more complex problem solving, focusing on your breath just wasn’t going to work.
I needed a new technique to help me in being, ‘present’, yet being able to focus using more thoughts.
I came across a great blog, by Morty Lefkoe. He talks about how events do not have any ingrained meaning, but only the meaning that you give it. Basically, everything you see in life, including your own life experiences, are just outcomes. If you want to attach meaning to them, that’s up to you.
When I began seeing everything in my life as just outcomes, my EGO seemed to just stop.
I was also able to properly focus at the task at hand, and as I was nearly, ‘present’ (in some cases, quite, ‘present’) I felt more inner peace.
In the end, I began seeing life as nothing more than outcomes to natural consciousness manifestations.
That is, whatever my consciousness, either conscious, sub-conscious, or super-conscious manifested, that would be the outcome I would experience.
If I wanted to label it, I could do. But that was my choice…it was ultimately nothing more but an outcome (similar to a mathematical equation, just giving out an answer…it’s up to you to give the answer a meaning).
I’m not trying to de-value life, merely trying to keep the EGO in it’s place.
As this is a blog about anxiety, you could say that the real question could be this: from a fear point of view, could this actually help you overcome any anxiety disorder?
I would answer that if remembered and practiced daily, I can’t see how this couldn’t dramatically help you reduce the effects, but I cannot say for sure.
Quite simply, there were some parts of my anxiety disorder still remaining (I do suffer from OCD, especially at night).
I found that your Amygdala is still very strong, going to bed. But I cannot see, providing you go to bed on time, why not?
Overall, I learn’t that I fantasized more than I realized, and that I have probably created neurons in my mind to make fantasying very easy. However, any scientist could tell you that with practice, new habits can be formed, which means new neurons would be wired in your brain.
With more practice, comes new behavior.
And with new behaviors comes a new way of life.
I will certainly see more of life as outcomes based, which should help dramatically reduce the fear that I sometimes experience at night, and therefore create new beliefs. I invite you to do the same;-)