Mindfulness amid a crazy world

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By Stella A. Estremera

Spider’s web

Saturday, November 23, 2013


EVEN before the word multi-tasking became mainstream, life has been a series of multi-tasks. There are days when it goes on a leisurely pace… work, socialize, paint, play the guitar, read. There are days when just about every activity overlaps with another, with two computers running all at the same time, with two different concerns running.

Yes, those are crazy days, like these crazy days.

It’s a continuous struggle against triggers of bad mood and temper; that usually come in the form of people who think they have all the reason to just drag you off at a whim. I still manage to force out a smile before declining sometimes. Other times, I simply refuse to acknowledge their presence.

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This is where mindfulness comes in; that is sadly lost among many people.

Mindfulness comes with the respect for space, time, and presence of each and every being. It’s being aware that when you open the door, then it will slam shut, and so you guide it back to the doorjamb. It’s chewing your food knowing that you are nourishing your body and not just chomping to pass the time away.

It is a recognition and acceptance that the only being under our control is our own self. Therefore, every person we approach is already doing us a favor by acknowledging our presence. They too have concerns of their own, never insist that they abide by your own agenda at the snap of a finger. Of course, that may change if you’re the boss talking to a subordinate, but the mindfulness should not be lost. What is it that is preventing them to perform as well as you would want? It may be the mismatch of skills or cluttered priorities, or a whole gamut of emotions. With that in mind, you work to get rid of the problem, which sometimes may mean getting rid of the person.

Mindfulness, after all, is not about being kind for kindness’ sake. Rather it is giving full attention to what is going on around you, including the sound of hearts breaking.

In Buddhism, mindfulness is one of the seven factors of enlightenment, make that the number one factor.

As Buddhists would say, the seven factors are: Mindfulness, Investigation, Energy, Joy, Tranquility, Concentration, and Equanimity.

There is a lot we can learn from the Buddhists, amid the noise and sufferings we are living through. To find peace in squalor will be very difficult if we ourselves cause squalor within. Meditation comes to mind, especially when the negative vibes are already overwhelming. We only have to be aware how agitated we already are; or better yet, we should keep a close track on our equanimity and swat out or our consciousness the triggers that can rock that.

It’s going to be difficult. Amid the squalor coming out of Eastern Visayas, Christmas is fast approaching. There will be more things to do, and more people to meet. It will be difficult, very difficult, if we do not keep a close watch over how we are reacting and learn to accept that many things going around us are really not worth getting in a stitch for.

In the meantime, I am giving myself the right to get in a stitch. Excuse me while I panic. saestremera@yahoo.com

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 24, 2013.

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