A storm in a tea-cup

Mindlessness – we are told – is the opposite to mindfulness.

So what does that mean? What does it mean to be mindless?

It means to lose touch with ourselves so much that we don’t even know that we have done so. Mindfulness, in contrast, happens when we realise – often with a sense of shock that we have been living in “autopilot”, going through the motions, without really being there, without experiencing our lives.

Mindlessness can be described as a state in which we are distracted by a particularly fascinating movie of our own making. The title of the movie is “My Life” and it plays out on the mental screen of our minds. There is a certain randomness to the plot, to the texture of this movie. It is hard to look away because when we are mindless we don’t even know that we can look away; we forget that there is an “away” – an alternative. We forget that there is so much more to our lives than the seductive allure of our movie, our story, our obsession. We forget that our movie is no more than “a storm in a teacup” – a fantasy comprised of anxiously looking forward, rushing on to the next thing or looking backwards, stressing and worrying over past perceived errors.

Our consciousness in these moments is “tea-cup” sized. Small, cramped; our possibilities limited.

When we bring our attention to here, to now, we literally come to our senses.

This is a like breath of fresh air, like opening the windows in a stuffy room and letting the breeze of awareness blow away the cobwebs, the staleness of the autopilot. There is a sense of freshness as we again connect to a feeling of spaciousness. We get perspective; perhaps even smile as we notice the drama going on in the tea-cup. Our consciousness expands and with a sense of gratitude we experience the miracle of simply being alive, of being conscious, appreciating the richness of existence.

Then without realising we return to “tea cup” consciousness.

So what can we do?

We simply remind ourselves to really notice our lives, to connect to our senses. When we realise that the inevitable has occurred, that again we have forgotten, seduced yet again by our movie, we don’t berate ourselves; we just notice with a kind smile and return to our senses, our breathing and our bodies.

A storm in a tea-cup

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