Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Want your head in the clouds but your feet on the ground?

Are you a striver or a dreamer? Put another way, do you consider your head more often in the clouds or your feet more firmly on the ground?

Dreamers are often thought of as ethereal-types while strivers are considered doers, the world's worker bees.  But this portrayal is often inaccurate.

How would you classify Walt Disney? Steve Jobs? Edison?  Einstein? Lincoln? The people we say had "vision" were dreamers AND strivers. While we tend to be more naturally inclined one way, we need to be people who have their feet on the ground and our heads in the clouds. So how do we achieve that?

One word: mediation.

Before I lose you to something you think is faddish/granola-ish/mumbo jumbo, allow me to point you to all of the positive science behind meditation. While everyone and their grandmother is jumping on the meditation (or "mindfulness practice") bandwagon these days, it's actually a practice that dates back more than 3000 years. Finally, while meditation is often considered a Buddhist or Eastern spiritual practice, mediation is just thinking, which last time I checked, is pretty non-denominational.

Contrary to popular belief, meditation isn't about stopping your thoughts. The goal isn't to cease thinking. Our minds work on dual planes constantly, it's literally how we can walk and chew gum at the same time. That ability is, to quote Martha, a "good thing." (Don't make me explain which Martha, it is implied.)

The problem is that when we try to quiet our mind, it keeps going like a run-away train. That high-speed, rail-jumping train is often referred to as the "monkey mind" or "roving mind." Want to see your monkey mind in action? Just for a minute, close your eyes and concentrate on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. How many times did you get distracted? How many times did you think: This is pointless or impractical? That's your roving mind. (Coincidentally, I have the same problem when I pray. I've heard pastors say that it was the devil distracting us. They were right, if by devil they meant ourselves!)

Unless we train our minds, we can't help to still them, which means we can't achieve greater focus or peace. So how do we train the mind?

I've found two tools that have helped me. I'll discuss them in more detail in my next post but for today, here they are:

Are you going to try it? 

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