“I didn’t list listening as one of my skills, probably because I didn’t hear what the interviewer asked.
―Jarod Kintz, This book Title is Invisible
“What did I just miss in this conversation while my mind was elsewhere? Oh, no I have no idea what they said! What are we are currently discussing? I got lost in thought! Now I still can’t hear what they’re saying because I’m so busy worrying about what they said a few minutes ago! Arrrggghhh!”
I’ve noticed that I sometimes have an issue being “in the moment” when I am having conversations, sitting at a lecture or especially when I am introduced to someone and they tell me their name. I just can’t seem to listen. My mind is too loud and very adament that I hear it’s every thought. Does this happen to you? I find it to be incredibly rude and I tend to really berate myself for my lack of attention on the other person – which only takes more time away from the other person’s part in our dialogue. I haven’t always been this way. I used to really hear people but recently my inner dialogue is doing everything it can to distract me from the present. I want to be present. I want my life now, in this moment, to hold more weight than my past or my future. I want to listen, to really hear.
I’m reluctant to set goals for this meditation challenge (for that matter, I am reluctant to call this practice a “challenge” because I see it more as the beginning of a journey) but if I may set one tiny goal, for my overall practice and not just this challenge, it would be to help me be more present for the 23.6 hours of the day that I am not meditating (okay 15 -16 hours leaving my sleeping mind to fend for itself in there).
Today’s meditation was a bit more distracted, my mind a bit louder and my energy a bit lower. I sat for 25 minutes this time, remembering how much I had wanted to sit for longer yesterday. 5 minutes more can’t make that much of a difference I thought – FYI 25 minutes felt about 30 minutes longer than yesterday’s practice. It is a little like running. You are out of the habit so it takes a lot of preparation and motivation to go out there for the first time, but once you are out there you feel like a superstar athlete! So you go out again a day or two later and your second run reminds you that sometimes running really sucks. Once you are in the swing of things though, you get into a rhythm. I am proud of sitting and breathing today. Returning to the breath, and returning to the breath, and returning to the breath over and over again whenever I trailed off on a thought. I am glad that despite the distractions today I still want to come back tomorrow and try again. And I am happy to report that I am noticing when I get distracted in my interactions with others and I am focusing without spiraling into panic. I am still distracted but maybe the noticing and calm reminders to look in their eyes and hear their words is a step in the right direction.
Now, what was that you were saying?