Fairly recently, l took on a new role which involves a lot of commuting. A number of friends and acquaintances believe that the number of hours I spend on the train is a bit too much and some of them have stated out rightly that they could never see themselves ever doing this for a job. Personally, I am thankful for the experience because I believe I have learnt a lot these past few months. A whole lot I must say. The thing I enjoy most about commuting is that it provides me with time to think while doing a bit of people watching and writing. In this present day when we are constantly bombarded by social media notifications, phone calls, WhatsApp messages, text messages, BBMs and all other forms of modern day distractions, it has become quite a luxury for me to be able to set aside time to just clear my head and ponder about everything from life plans to trivial matters such as what I am going to have for dinner. Actually, scratch that, dinner is not trivial for a self professed foodie like me. Thankfully, this is where the gym comes in…when I can drag myself there. Lol…Pardon me, I digress. Back to my point… Being able to mentally eject oneself from all these distractions is what I refer to as standing still. Standing still for a period of time, be it 10 minutes or up to one hour in my case, i.e. a time when you can just sit, lie, stand, bend or take up any position that pleases you to ponder, allow your mind to wander while visiting/revisiting your goals. You know those goals I am referring to, those ones you have told yourself that you just have not got the time to think about because you have been so busy. You could stand still and think about these alongside everything and anything else. You could decide to reflect on the past, your childhood days or even embarrassing moments (I know I have had my fair share of them). Any wholesome thought goes within this period of standing still. I usually end up feeling a lot more grounded than I would otherwise have felt if I were constantly checking my phone and getting distracted by God knows what else. A greater feeling of control and peace usually engulfs me after my “standing still sessions”. Maybe this is what yoga does. I believe both concepts are the same because they both provide one with some time to eject oneself from modern day distractions. It is okay if you are reading this and thinking, “This is total bonkers”. However my suggestion to you would be, why not try it out and if after a few sessions, if you come to the conclusion that this is not for you, then at least you know one more thing that does not quite work for you. I personally have benefited so much from standing still and I strongly believe that if you actively and consciously practise this, you would be pleased at how much mind work you can get done in this period of sober reflection. Till you read from me again, keep keeping on. Image credit: nicktyrone.com
The inspiration for this post came to me about 3 months ago.
I was on my way to work having got on my regular train into the city. However, on this day, the weather was not very friendly and as a result, my train got delayed. As you can imagine, there was a mad rush of people whom I suspect also had delayed journeys, milling into the centre, trying to make a dash to their destinations.
As I walked on, I got to a set of traffic lights, pressed the button and stood there, with my headphones on, slightly oblivious to my immediate environment, while waiting for the traffic light to turn green. I was getting particularly engrossed in “Drifting” by Enya when I was jolted into reality by a loud scream and the blaring of car horns.
Naturally, I pulled out my headphones from my ears and looked in the direction of the noise and all I saw was a woman running across the road. In her mad rush, she had crossed the road and just narrowly missed being hit by a car.
Of course everyone was relieved that she didn’t get hurt and some older people shook their heads but the funny thing that happened was that about 10 seconds later, the light changed to green for pedestrians to cross and the rest of us crossed the road.
As I carried on walking past shops on my way to my office, so many thoughts crossed my mind. I kept wondering what would have happened if this woman in her blind haste had been hit by the car. “What if she had waited for about 10 more seconds?”. I believe she would have crossed the road in a much more comfortable manner without having to put herself at the kind of risk she did.
This got me thinking about life in general, “Are we too hasty to go from where we are to where we want to be?”. “Do we in our haste to achieve goals, blindly rush off going after opportunities and taking decisions which in hindsight turn out to be a big mistake?”.
I have seen so many instances where people have rushed off to quit their jobs or relationships based on the promise of an amazing new position or partner elsewhere, only to find out that they may have been better off if they persevered a bit or left after giving it a bit more time and thought..
This is not to say that anyone should stay in an environment that constantly robs them of their joy. My point however is that, perhaps if we gave our actions a bit more thought, we would pursue these new opportunities in a more organised and strategic way which usually have a higher chance of success than if we dashed out like the woman, endangering our lives in the process.
Are we making hay even before the sun shines? Think about it…
Image credit: shutterstock.com