For a long time, I sincerely intended to be more mindful, but inevitably I was back in my habit of over-thinking and near obsession with problem-solving.
In the moment, it felt right to focus on the to-do’s. It felt productive or even “mature.”
But there is something we must remember… Our supply of attention and energy is not endless. Attention has finite neurological limits. Energy has finite biological limits. When we aren’t visible to our selves, we can plow ahead in blindness to these realities.
The huge interest in mindfulness is a testament to our inner wisdom that knows we deserve compassion, alongside our duty to contribute in our lives. But I regularly see people get stuck at the idea of being more mindful. Just as it did for me, over time their autopilot steers them back to old habits of mindlessness.
To be more mindful, you must first deepen your respect for your attention. Our boundless good intentions are saddled with selves that are not boundless. Our bodies, minds and spirits do have limits. Intentions don’t always match the available resources. These realities deserve our compassion. But they don’t have to be the end of the story.
I absolutely believe that commitment and persistence can accomplish anything. We have tremendous individual power. But our power only remains potent when we care for our inner resources and direct it with choice. Intending becomes doing when we break through the self-blindness of our autopilot.
Our attention, and the energy that sustains our goodwill, acts very much like water. If we don’t watch over it, it can evaporate, splash or spill out of control . We can entirely spill out of our selves into a task, thought, or endeavor. And the “entirely” part is the problem.
We can truly lose ourselves in relationships, compulsive activities that harm us, or dreams of more external influence than may actually be possible. Affecting change in your life without a way to contain and care for your self, is as futile as trying move water without a bucket.
Our attention carries and directs our power. If it isn’t contained, we feel scattered and out of control because in essence we are. Without accurate boundaries, we aren’t able to feel and control the power we do have.
Unfortunately this isn’t a one and done thing. We must constantly contain and hold ourselves together. We do that when we stay conscious of our boundaries, so we see our limits before we’ve passed them.