Do you ever find yourself just sitting and being still? Rarely, I will guess, unless you meditate on a regular basis. On the contrary, most of us find our minds bombarded by constant thoughts and feelings and our actions often paralleling this frenetic activity.
And I am as guilty as the next guy. I barely sit down to eat and find myself reading or glancing at a TV when I should be "sitting down" to breakfast.
My private life seems to reflect the intense atmosphere of my office life. Phone calls intrude on my personal time, charts are thrust in my face, letters are being read–as I'm attempting to wolf down my lunch. Dinner time is different. I actually sit down to eat. And by the way when is my next vacation? My wife has to set one up for us or I'd be too wrapped-up to ever plan or take one.
In a universe of constant doing there seems to be no place for just being. We seem to fear that we must multitask or risk loosing out on something. Exactly what that is we find hard to define.
Ironically, the faster we move, the more we feel inadequate to accomplish what we believe is so important. The continuous treadmill metaphor is appropriate. The perception of accomplishing more is associated with the feeling that we are falling further behind. It is the Promethean task lived out on a personal level.
I recall seeing a series of statues of Buddha in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. These enormous works of art portrayed the Buddha in a sitting position with legs folded and arms and hands in their typical repose. His eyes were closed and most importantly—there was a gentle smile on his face. It was a picture of complete peace and serenity. The last time I looked like that was when I sitting on a beach in the Mayan Riviera
The truth is simply this–the ONLY place where serenity and peace exists is within ourselves and THAT place is our minds. It is necessary to slow ourselves down, to attempt to empty our minds, to stop doing and just be present in that sacred space.
This is not to imply that we should or could drop out of our hectic lifestyles. Many of us actually enjoy the many activities we embrace. But we would all be better off by taking a mind vacation on a daily basis.
Put aside our smart phones, I-Pads, laptops. Rest in the present moment. Empty our minds of thoughts and feelings. In essence–its OK to "be out of your mind."
Focus on a mantra or the sensation of the breath entering and exiting our nasal passages. Just stop in order to re-charge our batteries.
Rest in the emptiness of no-thought. Just be present with the joy of possibilities. Take a mind vacation.