Do I return home when I regain my attention to the present?
Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.
On reading this question the first thing that comes to mind is that we spend a long time chasing after something that is going to happen. A sensation of haste or strain and it is not necessary for them to be things that are essential or particularly important.
It seems that we simply become used to doing everything quickly.
Every moment just seems to be a small step towards something that is further away, that I must do, that I must finish or reach. We tend to be buzzing on the outside, but also on the inside. The mind goes into overdrive, anticipating any obstacles and calculating the unforeseen and so forth every day.
It is not unusual that, after months of this racing around, we exclaim “I need a holiday!” And, then, often I hear lots of people say that during the holidays they did not stop and they ended up exhausted and could do with another little break.
We yearn for what we call home. That place that welcomes us, where there is no haste, where you snuggle up and read something quietly or watch a film you like or cook something delicious for the pleasure of doing it, without thinking of anything else.
It seems that we have to beat some kind of world record. It has probably happened to you or you know someone to whom it has happened.
But, what is it that happens to make us so exhausted?
I believe that it might be said that we are hardly ever present in what we are doing. We cook with our minds on what we are going to do next; we walk along thinking of our next meeting; we speak to someone without really listening to what they say. We are not completely present in the place we are. Our bodies are in the present moment, but our minds are elsewhere. That makes us feel split in two, or with one foot in the future and one in the past. That is exhausting.
If you want a holiday in your daily life, try to be present where you are. If you are eating, savour what you eat; if you are talking, listen without haste and without interrupting; if you are walking sense your body and your feet. If you are in the shower, feel the water on your body. Pay attention to what you are doing and if a wandering thought sneaks in at that moment, let it pass without becoming hooked in and do not feed it.
If you do this every time you remember, you will be able to have a sensation of yourself, of tranquillity. The more you do it the better you will feel. You will perceive that you are at home, that it is nothing more than being where you are at the present moment.
I can only invite you to do it because the work is up to you. Do it like a game and you will start to “come back home”, to that sensation of not being in two places at the same time.