How are you? Busy thank you!
I read somewhere that this is the accepted greeting among Chinese business people.
Yet it seems to be universal, doesn’t it?
These days ‘busy’ equates with success – a successful ‘busy’ business, a ‘busy’ social life, an activity holiday packed with ‘busy’ activities and scheduled relaxation time.
When someone asks you how you are – what do you normally say? ‘Oh so-so’, ‘Not too bad, thanks’, Could be worse’, ‘Fine thanks’.
What are you really feeling?
You may give a quick response on autopilot, either negative and downbeat or bright and breezy. Either way, it’s probably a knee-jerk response, where you don’t intend to give a real answer, unless you are with someone you really trust.
We live inside our heads
We live much of our lives inside our heads, and barely taste the food we’re eating, listen to birdsong outside the window or stop to identify that niggly feeling in our stomachs.
Does this sound like you?
If you stop to check in to how your body is physically feeling, it can also reveal how you’re emotionally feeling too.
As you sit and notice that niggly stomach, you may come to understand that it’s expressing fear. So keeping busy means we don’t have to acknowledge or remind ourselves this is what we are hiding. It might even come as a surprise.
How are you? Sit still to explore
If you sit and be still, and really focus on your body, you are connecting in with your emotions.
For many people who get started with mindfulness and meditation, they discover that they don’t really know how they feel. They know they’re not happy, but they can’t describe or identify much more than that.
As humans, one of our key desires is to feel safe. So once we have a few cosy routines, family and creature comforts, we don’t want to step out of this and into feelings that might start to rock the boat!
For many of us, emotions catch us unaware – we find ourselves crying with sadness at a song on the radio or suddenly enraged at a tiny act from a fellow road user.
These emotions are tucked away inside us. We only discover they’re present when one of our buttons is pushed.
Wouldn’t it be better to know yourself more? This is how mindfulness works. It guides you to get to know yourself better and this is a pro-active way of accessing your inner world.
It also gives you the chance to understand better when you do experience a strong emotion. Lisa Nichols describes this in her book, ‘No Matter What’:
The American Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron advises:
‘… So come as you are.
The magic is being willing to be open to that, being willing to be fully awake to that. One of the main discoveries of meditation is seeing how we continually run away from the present moment, how we avoid being here just as we are. That’s not considered to be a problem; the point is to see it.’
Emotions and meditating
You know when something is worrying you?
You may feel a surge of emotion – anger, grief or envy. But as you sit with it – it doesn’t last forever. ‘This too will pass’ means that no emotion stays with you indefinitely.
Keep focusing on your breath, rather than getting caught up in the story around the emotion, and you will observe that it loses its charge.
Mindfulness meditation provides the reminder that we are worthwhile and of value simply for being ourselves. It doesn’t have to be connected to how busy we are, how successful or how prominently we place ourselves before the world.
Sit still and mindfully watch your breath now. Listen in to your emotions and watch them arise and fall away.
Nourish yourself with some peace and calm, and get to know yourself with mindfulness.
Do share your comments below!
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide
Updated July 2019