In this crazy rat race we call life, it is easy for us to get frustrated, confused and burned out. We’ve all been there; it is that point where everything has seemed to have lost its meaning. Nothing has a point – it is all just abstract business work, even if it is something we truly love doing. The main symptom is a lingering feeling of “blech” without a tangible source. You’re neither content nor depressed; just numb and apathetic. There’s a basic explanation for the phenomenon, spiritual imbalance. It’s what happens when the mundane world puts too much demand on one’s life and the Self becomes neglected amongst various duties and deadlines that need to be met.
What becomes increasingly difficult to manage in a high-tech, ever evolving and rapidly accelerating world is the ability to keep one’s self centered. Too many demands, not enough time to do it all, so we sacrifice certain things here and there to catch some time to unwind before the next onslaught. Welcome to the age of multitasking, where the only way to get everything accomplished is to do several things at a time. So why not apply that same principle to the concept of spirituality, a way to have it in every day life as opposed to making time for it whenever. No matter what one’s beliefs, the idea is to put some of the deeper personal insights to action as one goes along. Here are four examples of opportunities in disguise to do something.
1. The Menial Task
At one point or another, everyone will find themselves doing that annoying and sometimes completely degrading task that could be carried out by a well-trained chimp. It doesn’t require any thought and virtually no awareness to complete. All you have to do is just shift to auto-pilot and go until it’s done. What makes these tasks so irritating is our mind intoning, “This is stupid. This is stupid. This is stupid,” the entire time we are working at it. It amplifies that monotony fivefold and puts us in a really sour mood that will prove to be difficult to change even after the task is done. Here is a perfect time to do something to center or balance one’s self since we clearly aren’t going anywhere. Focus on a visualization that helps to clear your mind, or formulate a mantra you can mentally repeat to yourself as you work. This works particularly well with repetitive motions, which tend to induce trance states. (Never mind if it’s out of boredom, just take advantage of it.)
2. The Nonsense Mind
Our brains love to mess with us. There are so many times a day our minds like to focus on something completely irrelevant or absurd – commercial jingles, those annoying songs we don’t want to think about but get stuck in our heads anyway, or hyper-analyzing some really stupid thing that happened a week ago. The trick is to catch the process and convert it to time for contemplation or reflection. Instead of contemplating how great lunch was or wondering about the formation of belly button lint, one can consider what one’s beliefs are or reassess one’s place in life and what it could be. Take the time to run some of those unanswered questions around to see if any new insights arrive.
Often the term “awareness” is associated with knowing what is going on in the environment, foreseeing any possible dangers before they happen. Yet when was the last time anyone bothered to be aware of how peaceful or relaxed the surroundings are? We often look for problems or situations that might help us get moving faster. Rarely do we take notice of ourselves within the environment, as part of where we are at the time. We are always connected to what is around us, but we often are too distracted to see it. Hence, we usually don’t bother to look. Next time, a situation arises when there isn’t somewhere to be at an exact moment or some task the mind has to be sharply focused on, take a good look at the scene and try to sense a relation to it. How do we occupy the space? What small details go unnoticed? What do they tell us?
4. Relations to Others
Thanks to the construction of our physical selves, we often get confused about the nature of our individuality. In other words, we usually feel completely separated from everyone else. Granted, while there is a sense of individuality, there is still an intangible link between us and the populace at large. This link manifests on many levels, including empathy, a sense of relating, interdependence on what others do and breathing the same air. Some would argue we are connected even further, in terms of a collective unconsciousness. Regardless of one’s beliefs, that link is there whether we acknowledge it or not. When dealing with another person, whether it’s a co-worker, client or the person standing next to you in line, focus on the link that might exist between you and that person. (This works best with strangers as having a sense of connection is easier to achieve with family and friends.) Consider how they may be similar to you in regards to their reactions and interpretations of the world around them and the people in their lives.
The way in which you think about and perform these activities is up to you. Depending on your personal beliefs or faith, you can tailor these concepts around the way you live your life. If nothing else, it will bring you more in contact with that part of yourself that gets neglected or pushed aside in mundane life. By taking the time to incorporate this general mindset into daily life, we can get a stronger sense of meaning and understanding with who we are and what we do.