So, we’ve covered off one of the ways in which we can cultivate silence in our lives, and help us to hear from God, to set ourselves up for success.
Today, let’s look at the second of those suggestions – cultivating mindfulness.
This is a surprisingly big one, because we are often so distracted in the moment -there are too many things that we are trying to do at once – that we are ineffective. If you read the article that I linked to in the last post, then you will know that the author makes the claim that multitasking reduces our functional IQ by a significant number of points. Even something as simple as having an email that we have not read, and knowing that it is there, can reduce our focus and our ability to work.
Part of navigating our world today is learning to single-task and cultivate the discipline of putting distractions aside, or at least, turning off the things that might cause us to become distracted.
What are some ways that we can do this? How might we work towards being more mindful, more in the moment? Because in doing so, we will enjoy life much more, we will experience more vividly and remember those experiences better. But even more importantly, the ability to put aside distractions will enable us to focus when it comes to building habits that help us to hear from God. We will be able to put aside those distractions and come to him with our focus very much on hearing from him and building a relationship with him.
Here are three things to keep in mind when trying to build mindfulness as a way of being. Practicing these things will help you to slow down and pay attention to what you are doing, and, contrary to what you might think, you will actually get more done.
Mindfulness is a discipline
This is not going to be an easy thing to do. Your brain has been wired a certain way by living uncritically in the world, and so to break that pattern is going to take discipline. One way to do this is to take time, at certain points of the day, to be aware of what is happening to you, or what you are doing at that moment. Focus on each thing that you are doing as you are doing it, force yourself to think about it. It may be that you are eating breakfast, and you take the time to really focus on what it is that you are eating, the taste, the texture, how it satisfies your hunger etc. You may do it while you are walking to work or university, focus on the feel of how that act affects your muscles and breathing etc. Set these times to help you build this habit.
Have distraction free moments
This is similar to the first tip, but here instead of just being aware of what is happening, and what you are doing, turn off the things that distract you. Disconnect from the internet, put the phone away, close the email, and do something simple, like read a physical book, or draw on some paper, just sit and think, but don’t let anything distract from that.
Keep a journal
One of the things that can really discourage you as you try to build this habit are the random thoughts that keep popping into your head each time you sit down to listen or hear from God or to be in the moment and focus on just one thing. A great way to combat this is to simply keep a little journal that you can dump all of the random distracting thoughts that fly through you head in. So if you are sitting and trying to be in God’s presence, and you suddenly start thinking about what you’re going to have for breakfast, or that you have to call someone about something, then it goes in the journal and you can come back to it later. It helps to have a dumping ground for these thoughts, which will help you focus in the long run.
Question: What is a trick that you have used to help keep yourself from being distracted?
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