By Elise Bialylew
“You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”
~ Indira Gandhi
The agitation of “busy” can be felt in the body – if you stop and tune in. Without tuning in it is an underlying force that propels you through the day with a sense of breathlessness, rush and urgency. An internal engine that switches on from the moment you wake up, triggering flurries of thoughts and to do lists that scroll through the “news feed” of your mind.
The agitation of busy, pushes you to do things you know are plain stupid. Like text a friend or check your email while you’re driving. Only to be jolted from it’s spell – a realisation that your life is fragile, and that a moment of poor judgement in a moving vehicle could land you in an intensive care unit or worse
The agitation of busy makes it hard to sit still. With no comfort in stillness you’re compelled to move and do. Maybe deep down it’s a fear of failure. Maybe it’s your survival instinct with fear based messages telling you if you don’t work harder and earn more money you won’t have enough to feel happy. Maybe it’s your addiction to needing to feel important, wearing “busy” like a badge of self-importance masking those gnawing feelings of “not good enough.”
The agitation of busy can only be recognised when you take a moment to pause. When you arrive into stillness and can recognise the movement inside.
Mindfulness meditation provides a microscope into your inner world. It spotlights what’s going on from moment to moment and illuminates the agitation of busy. It doesn’t necessarily feel good. In fact, being present with the agitation of busy can be unpleasant taking the form of physical itches, twitches, or tightness, compelling you to want to …
Move. Avoid. Do.
But, if you can see the agitation of busy for what it is and stay present, simply observing this chaotic internal energy, eventually it moves through and shifts. It is impermanent and will pass.
As you make space to be with the agitation of busy, rather than be driven by it– you return to a connection with calm, ease, presence and flow in daily life.
5 steps for transforming the agitation of busy into a connection with calm through mindfulness meditation.
1. Recognise the agitation of busy
This step is essential and as you practice meditation more regularly you will get better at detecting the agitation of busy.
It is most evident by thoughts that fill your mind compelling you to “do”. Thoughts that convince you that you have no time to meditate, that you are too busy.
2. Resist the seduction of your thoughts
When you are under the spell of busy your mind streams out thoughts that fill you with a sense of urgency. When you can recognise your thoughts for what they are, just thoughts, and not necessarily the truth, you find a greater level of freedom in life.
As you practice mindfulness more regularly you become much better at observing and recognising these thoughts, rather than allowing them to determine your actions.
3. Check in with your values
It’s important to have a clear sense of what matters most to you so that when your thoughts pull you in the opposite direction, you can be master of your mind and not a slave to it. You are able to decide with clarity what actions you will take, rather than act on automatic pilot, mindlessly. Write a list of your highest values, those things that are most important in your life, and keep them somewhere visible so you can live aligned to your values each.
4. Choose for the long term gain
When you are trying to create new ways of being, whether it’s starting a meditation practice or getting physically fit through regular exercise, it’s easy to succumb to what feels better in the moment, the habitual response. When you are faced with the thoughts that are trying to pull you away from what you value most and how you most want to be and live, remind yourself to choose for the long term gain.
Commit to choosing the action that will move you in the direction of your values – even if you just do it for a few minutes.
Join thousands of others around the world who are choosing calm over chaos, focus over distraction and stillness over stressed.
Sit for something this May – Learn the skills of mindfulness through registering for the annual global 31-day mindfulness meditation challenge that will transform your life and the world for the better. Get access to guided audio meditations and video interviews with global experts in the field. Meditate and make a difference to your own life and the lives of others. Gather some friends and create your own virtual meditation team. Register now before it’s too late at Mindful in May.
Elise Bialylew is a social entrepreneur, meditation teacher, and the founder of Mindful in May – a global mindfulness campaign that’s taught thousands of people around the world to meditate, while raising over $300,0000 to build clean water wells in the developing world. Elise fuses her extensive medical expertise with her study of meditation and psychology to coach people around the world to reach their full potential at The Mind Life Project. Her writing and work have been featured in the Huffington Post, the New York Times, the United Nations and on national Australian Television. Learn how to meditate with thousands of people from around the world by registering for Mindful in May before April 30th.