BANGALORE: To get the best from life, you must be completely present and mindful in every minute of every hour of every day. As Albert Camus wrote, “Real generosity towards the future consists in giving all to what is present.” Yet, on most days, our minds are in ten different places at any one time. Rather than enjoying the walk to work, we wonder what the boss will say to us when we get to the office or what we will have for lunch or how our children will do at school today. Our minds are like scampering puppies or, as they say in the East, like unchained monkeys, rushing from place to place without any pause for peace.
By developing present moment awareness and an abundance of mental focus, you will not only feel much calmer in your life, you will also unlock the fullness of your mind’s potential. When too many distractions compete for your attention, the power of your mind is dissipated in all those different directions rather than concentrated on one point like the rays of a laser beam. The good news is that you can practice becoming more attentive to the present and develop this skill within a relatively short period of time.
One of the best ways to cure your monkey mind is through a technique I call “Focused Reading.” Every time your mind wanders from the page into a daydream or a worry, make a check mark in the right hand margin of the page. This simple act will increase your awareness of how poorly you concentrate and, since awareness is the first step to change, help you to build the skills you need for a clearer, quieter mind.