It has been 20 years since I first heard of meditation and mindfulness. Twenty years have gone by and I still have not become a master meditator; twenty years in which I have not learned how to calmly ride the ups and downs of life; twenty years in which I have succumbed to the appeal of phones and constant connection to the world via social media.
Why is it so hard to master quietness, to master the art of doing nothing for a short period of time? The truth is, it is so easy to distract yourself – with social media, with food, with chores, with work, with anything. And the distraction serves a purpose – it takes your mind away from discomfort, hurt, or boredom that might be hiding there. Sometimes you receive $$ pay and social reward from being so distracted all the time (with work). But distraction can also take you away from feeling joy in the present moment, often at times and in places where you did not expect it.
When something is stuck at the top of your mind, people notice. It is no surprise – it happens on TV shows all the time. If you do not process your emotions on your on time in your own space, someone else will have to help you with it later – perhaps in public or at the office. This is not necessarily bad; the world might be a nicer place if we could bring our personal lives to the office. But if you come to work upset you are unconsciously asking a coworker to provide emotional support when they may or may not be prepared to or good at it.
Coming back to myself and my lack of success in mastering mindfulness since 1999: if anything, I think it would have helped me develop clarity and focus in my life direction. Not that I think I veered way off track, but I have stalled and pursued some tangents and tried to carry too many sticks at a time. The hoped-for benefits would occur daily and weekly and over the long-term…