I am not a Buddhist. However, if someone put a gun to my head and ordered me to pick a religion it would be Buddhism. Like a lot of people across the world (and annoyingly many celebrities) I feel the ideas attributed to the Buddhist faith make sense. The religion dates back to the 5th century yet it is so applicable to modern day life. Mainly because the success of our daily lives is measured according to what we can achieve in a day. Every morning I wake up to a new to do list: get up, feed baby, feed child, feed myself, feed dogs, dress baby, dress myself etc etc….and then later…..renew insurance, ring Irma, ring Dad, clean house, hoover, prepare lunch etc etc The list never stops until bed-time. But that is when I do most of my thinking so a whole new list of longer term shit starts up – review my career, how can I make a dent in world famine and poverty etc etc, oh and a house move in 5 years time.
What causes the stress of the daily grind regardless of your age, position in life, class, is always thinking about the next thing to do rather than concentrating on the task at hand. From what I understand of some of the concepts of Buddhism, peace and harmony in the mind is helped by completely devoting all concentration and attention on what you are doing at that time – no matter how menial. So I try to do this every day and it is amazing how many times I catch myself thinking about other things while doing something. This is called multi-tasking, which is often essential in modern life. However the Buddhist way of going about your daily life means you really enjoy life to the full rather than racing through the hours till bedtime, or as Homer Simpson once put it “I try not to let the day hurt too much before I get back into bed with you Marge”.
So when changing my baby’s nappy I started thinking about other stuff, got distracted, looked down and saw a beaming smile and I thought, “Shit how long as he been smiling at me and I have been too busy thinking about other stuff to notice”. That’s the problem. If you don’t appreciate the actual moment you are in, because you are too busy anticipating the next, then life just passes you by and that’s sad. I even tried this idea when simply cleaning the windows and I just shut everything out and focused on what I was doing and ended up doing a really good job – which was satisfying. It’s difficult to do this when the phone rings or someone else distracts you but I thoroughly recommend at least giving it a go.
It’s good for the workplace too. When at work I have a one touch policy – I finish a job to its completion before moving on to the next. I prioritise the tasks and work out how much time is needed for each so that I am not ‘toe-dipping’ from one task to the other. This technique encouraged in Buddhism makes work more productive and your home life more enjoyable.
It’s also quite good for blogging too. Don’t think I will ever reach the state of Utopia though.
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Thanks for reading.