Set a Distance to Remain Mindful
“Direction is more important than speed. We are so busy looking at our speedometers that we forget the milestone.”
– Author Unknown
The wandering mind is so commonly dominant and pervasive that even setting an intention to be present often isn’t enough to bring your awareness into the moment, especially during practice in everyday life activities. It helps to have ways to encourage the mind to stay in the present moment; and, it helps to keep those methods bounded. Expecting your awareness to remain in the present moment without fail during daily activities just isn’t realistic, particularly given the design of our brains, which are tuned to be on high alert for any potential threats to our survival.
Kirk, a student in one of my mindfulness classes, shared the following helpful way of encouraging more mindful moments during motion-driven activities. Try it out and tell me how it works for you:
“As I was riding my bike the other day, attempting to be present, I noticed that my mind quickly wandered. It was an exquisite day, and I really wanted to be in the moment. My mind kept wandering, and it seemed hard to keep it from wandering. I then had an idea to set a certain distance, rather than time, to remain present. I tried it on a short, quiet, beautiful stretch of road, and found it to be much more effective to set a distance to be mindful, rather than just trying to be present constantly. [Being mindful] constantly may work eventually, but not yet for me.
“The same may be true for other motion driven activities that cover space: walking, hiking, driving, biking, swimming, things that you cover ground, set a goal in the distance, and keep focused on that distance, rather than the time.”
What methods work well for you to maintain your mindful awareness in the midst of everyday activities?