Last year I was having a hell of a time dealing with my daily life so I sought out some online therapy. I could have tried to post my sad sack story to Reddit but 100 replies of garbage memes wasn’t going to help me. I needed someone with some pedigree to really help sort me out. So I signed up for Talkspace and I had a therapist through them for about 3 or 4 months. It was a really good experience and helped me out a ton.
One thing my therapist really tried to impress upon me was the value of “being present.” Living with Anxiety, Depression and all those other screwy things in your mind you sometimes are not even aware that you are alive RIGHT NOW. You are far too busy being worried/sad about things that have happened or that you have convinced yourself WILL happen. There is no brain power left to pay attention to this very moment making regret REALLY easy to stumble into.
My Therapist recommended to me some books by Thich Nhat Hanh – a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk. This was great because I live in Vietnam right now and felt like I could connect to the place around me a little more. So I picked up a couple of his books and started to peck away at them at night before bed. These are the “put you to sleep type” of books so it took a while.
I’m going to save you a ton of time and reading here by just telling you to pay attention. When you can’t pay attention you learn to pay attention to your breathing until your mind has refocused. The concept of mindfulness is essentially the methods and techniques used by Monks for thousands of years to force themselves to pay attention to what is going on around them. When they find they can’t focus they turn toward the most common bodily function there is -breathing. They analyze “breathe” in details you can’t even imagine.
Having full control over your minds’ focus makes you a better present lover, a good listener and you become much more genuine in all your day to day interactions. You are suppressing your microcosmic emotional decision making by letting your macro values (the ones buried in your subconscious) envelop you, govern you and steer you. You are more genuine because you are not spinning up your precognitive thought processes.
You are experiencing and living as it comes without the ability to judge or analyze. Things come and go quickly as your mind only takes the moment to acknowledge what is happening, accept it is happening and moving on. Feathers are unable to be ruffled and your temper can remain calm as a windless sea.
Breathe becomes your savior and your rock solid foundation to being mindful of the world around you.
Danny Machal April 11th, 2015