“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” – Buddhist saying
What this means is that when we are able to be in the moment, we no longer watch the clock. Whatever your work might be, bring all of yourself to it. When you are fully present, you may find that your labor is no longer a burden. Wood is chopped. Water is carried. Life happens.
Staying in the moment is one of my challenges. I love it when it I am there, and then like a feather on a gust of wind, it’s gone. And the chattering monkey brain is back. Do this, don’t do that, remember this, why did you do that, and on and on. And then there is the inevitable multi-tasking. I realize that along with many others, especially of the female persuasion, I take a great deal of pride in my ability to do many things at once, often not very well. I often find myself cooking dinner, returning phone calls, catching up on texts and emails, ordering a gift for a friend from Amazon, and anything else I can squeeze in at the same time.
However, when I am adjusting and talking with patients, I do not multi-task. I am 100% engaged. I am completely focused on what I am doing. This is bliss. I first heard of this concept from a great chiropractor, Dr. Jim Parker, many years ago. He called it PTC (Present Time Consciousness). Now it’s called “Mindfulness”. When I am completely in the moment, life is fulfilling and joyful. And I am so much better at what I do. In this state, I am insightful, intuitive, creative, compassionate, loving, engaged, and time is irrelevant. That’s why people who are busy usually describe their life as full and wholehearted. Being engaged in what you are doing keeps your brain from monkey chatter, which is exhausting.
The same strategies that I use to keep me mindful in my patient interactions work in other areas of my life. So here are some tips:
- Remind yourself to simply pay attention to what you are doing, even if it is mundane. If you are driving to work, take a different route. Pay attention to what is around you.
- Try to complete a task before moving on to the next. One study found that it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back to a task after being interrupted. This is a huge waste of time.
- Meditate or if you aren’t ready for that, just sit in the quiet and let your mind rest.
- My secret weapon to stay present when I adjust my patients is to visualize a swirling, golden glow of healing energy that comes from above, down, into and through my body, and travels out through my hands into my patient. This is a great way to connect and feel the oneness of life. We are all in it together. I have started doing this in my daily interactions. It really feels great.
Applying these concepts will help you feel more connected to people and more engaged with life. Don’t forget to make sure your nervous system is free from interference (subluxations) to ensure that you are physically connected too. It’s hard to be conscious of the moment when your body is not working at optimal.