Today I sit quietly for a few moments and observe my thoughts as they float by in my mind. I don’t judge them. I just watch and notice. What does observation reveal to me about my thoughts?
I was looking for a good writer’s prompt on living in the now or present moment, and I found “Mindfulness Journal Prompts” (Liveboldandbloom.com/12/mindfulness/mindfulness-journal-prompts). It really forced me to think of things in an abstract way, which I normally would not stop to take the time to do. This prompt brought me to a whole new level of examining my thoughts about living in the moment. How many of us actually observe and analyze our thoughts? Or do we let them float on by? The image of counting sheep to fall asleep crosses my mind as a thought that paints this image. Or do we hold onto them, cling to them and even obsess? Then do we judge our thoughts? Or do we let them float on by like sheep jumping in the moonlight.
Can we filter out the outside world? Block our senses? Impossible, right?
I see a man walking in the park. I hear people having a business meeting. I taste my coffee. I feel and smell the fresh air through the open screen window. I am in a coffee shop across from a park.
Living in the present moment comes easily if I am relaxed and in an almost meditative state subconsciously. Breathing and emptying the mind. If you truly learn to empty your mind, there will be no room for judgment. Slow down the speed of your thoughts or the speed of the sheep jumping over the fence. Slow down your mind and you slow down your body, just like the great masters who achieve this state of meditative bliss. That’s what it’s all about. This state of being is living more in the present moment. It’s hard to achieve on a regular basis, so we have to make time for it in our day. We need to relax.
This can be extremely challenging. I am a survivor of a ruptured brain aneurysm, a hemorrhagic stroke. In September, it will have happened two years ago. I have worked very hard to stop my catastrophic thinking patterns and living with fear and anxiety. I had to teach my brain to be flexible when it was injured and healing. It was a very difficult task. I had to find a new identity that was post-stroke — an identity that struggled, that still struggles, to live without obsessive thoughts about the traumatic brain injury. I have to surrender to the now. I have to make a choice every day to not let these thoughts plague me. I navigate in new waters. They are uncharted for all of us.
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless like water. Be water, my friend.” — Bruce Lee