Earlier today, I was writing about High Definition TV and my thoughts relating to the potential harm it is doing to our senses.
Within that blog I mentioned nostalgia. (Here is a separate blog specifically on that subject).
The day before I referred to the title of a book of poems by Jack Kerouac – Safe in Heaven, Dead. This is along the same lines.
We can only ever be certain about the past. The present is always ending, and, tomorrow isn’t;
I have been brought back to thinking about these ideas by Mo Gawdat, a remarkable Egyptian business/tech/thinker, in his recent book, Solve for Happy. Mo, an engineer by training takes his analytical mind to the concept of happiness to develop an algorithm for others to use. He has also started the global movement; #Onebillionhappy – his idea to contribute to the happiness of one billion people globally (as of 2018, he has some work to do).
This is getting off the topic.
A few concepts are well established within the world of Mindfulness.
- Mind Wandering – that is the unscheduled, dis-coordinated ambling of the human mind from topic to top, which is part of the human condition. We all do it.
- Mind Wandering tends to occur more frequently when people who are anxious or depressed.
- Mind Wandering is the opposite of Mindfulness, which encourages us to free our thoughts from ideas and emotions and be in the moment.
All this is very clear – if you want to learn more, John Kabat-Zinn’s book, ‘Full Catastrophe Living’ is an excellent resource.
What Mo helped me link in my mind yesterday was the relationship between the states of Mindfulness, Mind Wandering, being and remembering.
Here is roughly what he says:
Think of a happy moment from the past.
Go on… think of one;
Here is mine – last winter standing on the edge of the Ramon Crater with my children.
Remember the scene – the colours, sounds, feelings, associated emotions;
For me it is a rich, anchoring moment that is buried deep inside.
One thing is very likely however – at that moment, I was almost certainly not in a state of Mind Wandering. I was there, experiencing the heat, the smells and sounds.
These states of being which Csikszentmihalyi calls flow are when we are at our best, gaining the most from being alive.
Such states are inconsistent with Mind Wandering – thinking about unpaid bills or what Gloria, Gaynor or Graham think about you, ambling-off into future states of imagining what might be if or if not.
Now, this moment is the experience.
For me this is consistent through my life; those times that I treasure most are those occasions when I have been present – physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Can anyone remember a moment of Mind Wandering?
In essence, this is squandered life.
It adds little.
It isn’t even thinking.
Generative thoughts, the place that creates new ideas mostly happens in the unconscious, usually, when you are busy doing other things – as John Lennon said.
The point of my blog?
Well, probably it is a call for people to read Mo’s book.
Also, to observe those moments when you are so caught-up imagining what might or might not happen that you miss all the heavenly glory (sorry for the excessive quotes – that one was Bruce Lee).
Take a moment, stop worrying.
Be in the now.