10/ Time Travel

It is difficult to avoid the mundane observation that time flies in linear sequence.  Ebb. Flow. Night follows day.  Birth then death.  The mind is very good at time traveling.  It flits effortlessly into memories of the past, imagines and invents the future, continually floating away from the freshness and immediacy of experience in the present.  Perhaps this helps preserve a sense of self when we’re planning and pursuing goals.  But  it’s easy to overlook the bald fact that despite our utmost strenuous efforts we exist only in the present moment with no direct experience of either past or future.  

From the perspective of mindfulness thinking can give an illusion of control over the contexts of our lives, over time as well as place.  But consciousness based only in thinking permits us to block out, or partly ignore, current, immediate reality.  We're at risk of seeing only a vale of tears through which we're trudging towards a brave new world, a promised land, maybe with a lingering glance back over our stooped shoulders at some halcyon past. 

She says,
"At its simplest, mindfulness is being aware of what you are doing while you are doing it.
 When you practice mindfulness, you gently bring yourself into the present.
 Every time you notice that you have drifted in your mind to the past, or into the future,  you bring  yourself back into the present.
 Every time you notice yourself drifting off into your imagination gently bring yourself back  to the  present moment.
 Never, ever scold yourself for drifting away from awareness.  Drifting is what minds  do.  Accept this  fact......"

"Mindfulness aims to shift focus of attention away from thinking towards simply observing  thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations (eg., touch, sight, sound, smell, taste) with a kind and  gentle curiosity."

Lastly, she warns, "Mindfulness is a skill that takes time to develop.  Like any skill it requires a certain level of effort, time, patience, and ongoing practice."

Keep trying.
Taken from notes provided by: Palliative Care North Lee Team, Marymount University Hospital & Hospice, Curraheen, Co.Cork

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