Beautifully Mindful

The first thing to be aware of is that living a beautiful life takes effort and constant monitoring

I currently live in a small but expanding town on the south coast of England called Dartmouth. It’s fairly well known for its connections to the British Navy and the fact it’s situated alongside the mouth of the river Dart. A great place, and due to this has many visitors, in particular, during the summer months. During this time it can feel a little claustrophobic.

Many people keep their boats on the river and in addition to this there are a lot of wealthy second home owners who also visit in the summertime. An extreme example of this population explosion occurs in a town a little further along the coast called Salcombe. During the winter the population of this town is around two thousand and during the summer months this can increase to as much as twenty two thousand. Seasonal change is something the people of Devon have become accustomed to. As a means of escaping the summer occupation of Dartmouth, my partner and I keep a little caravan in a much quieter part of Devon, that isn’t quite so seasonally affected.

Now as I’m sure you can imagine, many of the business’s in the south west of England are dependent on the tourist industry. For example, there’s a little business, recently established alongside the river Dart, that teaches people how to paddleboard. There is some unfortunate news in that they’ve recently had most of their boards and paddles stolen. Even so, I’ve no doubt they’re insured and will soon be back in business teaching people how to have fun on the river very soon. There is a point to all of this that I’ll come back to. In the meantime consider this statement:

I care about me more than I care about anybody else

No matter how idyllic or stress-free the setting, if the mind isn’t absolutely present, this environment will never be fully experienced or appreciated. In this regard, at some point during our lives, we will all face challenges and distractions from our plans. On some level we all plan to have a nice time and enjoy our lives as much as possible. Even so, it’s interesting how many of us aren’t able to appreciate, and sometimes even recognise, when we’ve reached one of the markers we’ve set ourselves. A prime example of this would be to overly involve ourselves with the troubles of others.

Take the stolen paddleboards. On hearing the news we might become saddened or angered and we might (as was the case) exaggerate the facts. One local person took it on themselves to spread the gossip that the paddleboard thieves – rather than stealing everything – had vindictively broken the paddles. This wasn’t true and is example of someone becoming overly involved with the distress of others and then needing to spread this negativity. If we want a comfortable, stress-free existence, we must constantly monitor and be aware of our thoughts and behaviour. We must also monitor to what extent we allow the thoughts and behaviours of others to affect us.

Another example concerns the inability to distance ourselves from the troubles of family members. We have ties to family that place demands on our time and energy. Once family members have reached adulthood it is expected that they’re then able to take full responsibility for themselves. There are times when this can’t be the case (perhaps due to unforeseen illness) and so family members must step in to help. Even so, through having awareness and control over our minds, we’re able to separate, compartmentalize and prioritise ourselves.

You must always place yourself as the priority and be aware of how easily you can be distracted

Remember: no matter how beautiful the setting and the life, if you’re not fully engaged with this – in the moment – it will all be for nothing. Take control of your mind, through learning how to successfully meditate, so that you may improve everyday mindfulness.

When it comes to the troubles of other this is an occasion when it is of great value to cast the mind forward to a time when the troubles are over. No matter the problem it will always come to an end. Everything has an ending. In predicting the future we’re also able to see how things always average out and in the end.

So we can see the value in keeping the mind present and we can also see how casting the mind forward also has value. My partner and I understand how claustrophobic Dartmouth can get in the summer and we compensate for this through planning our little escapes. Without occasionally thinking ahead this wouldn’t be possible. When we’re at our caravan our minds must be present and enjoying what we’ve created there. And the same applies when we’re in Dartmouth.

Engaged in the present moment we feel everything that is occurring now. If in this moment things are not as we want them, there is a tendency to need escape. It’s a fabulous survival strategy. However, for us to live fully, we must be prepared to experience all of the aspects presented to us. If we lazily allow our minds to constantly wander off we will often delay making necessary changes.

In contrast, if we have reached a point in our lives where it feels like plans are coming together, we can easily be distracted by the troubles of others. We can be driven by the negative forces of guilt. Once again if we’re allowing our minds to wander off we can forget that everyone has a responsibility to themselves. We all have the ability to plan and care for ourselves within these plans. If others have failed to do this, failed at getting their insurance in order, we must be aware that there is no value in sharing the discomfort they might experience as a result. There is no value in you experiencing it with them. Others must be left to wonder how you mange to remain present and happy.

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