Friday, April 08, 2011

One Pointed Awareness.... on 20 things at once

We love multi-tasking.

We - as in busy, city-dwelling, fabulously able and intelligent beings - love to do many things at once in order to complete more, achieve more, do more, and be more.

Our jobs encourage us to do this. In my last job I would often switch myself 'off-line' (phone on divert to voicemail, having email disconnected, shut my office door) for stretches of 30 minutes at a time, in order to really concentrate and dive into a project wholeheartedly - be it a press release, a schedule or a plan. This was highly unusual in the building. "But what if there's an emergency and you don't answer your phone?" "What if a last minute meeting pops up and you don't get the email to see it?" "What if... what if... what if... (insert other pressing issue here" they would cry.

Truth be told, in those 30 minutes, nothing ever majorly catastrophic was unearthed. And in fact, I was able to get a heck of a lot more work done in an uninterrupted manner for 30 minutes at a time.  But don't get me wrong - I am a skilled multi-tasker! I have been known to work on my laptop computer (my old one was  s l o w), my desktop computer (while I was waiting for the laptop to kick into gear), have my landline phone (home), mobile phone (personal) and blackberry (work) all within a 2 metre radius (with the tv on mute, and the radio on in the background).

Yes - I did see the absolute insanity in this half way through.  But really, isn't insanity to one man real sanity to another? And doesn't craziness become normal when you do it consistently? I was the 'crazy' one in my office because I disconnected (for just 30 minutes) in a busy working day. But to me, the level of multi-tasking required in a busy office where redundancies occurred often (which equalled more work, less employees to complete it all) is crazy.  Burnout - where you physically smash your adrenals and 'burn out' your body - is common and it's only on the increase. Crazy!

And this obsession with multi-tasking isn't just confined to the workspace. The fidgeting yogis who can't stay still in savasana (because they're fixing their hair or their towel, or jiggling their foot, or scratching their nose, or craning their head to look at the clock, or already rolling up their yoga mat so they're first out of the room) struggle with it. The city workers on the train into the city each morning (with a book in one hand, their headphones in their ears, and breakfast in the other hand) struggle with it. Me - who can't remember the last time I ate lunch without a book or a laptop being devoured as well - I struggle with it.

So this month of April, I'm refocussing my energy on one pointed awareness. On the breath, and the breath alone. Or breakfast - and breakfast alone.  So I have less of this:
and more of this:

Will you join me in this practice of Dharana?
Tell me yogis, how do YOU find the balance between multi-tasking and sanity and one pointed awareness?

x stella

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