Down Shifting

We are busy people. Not because we are so special, but because that is the nature of our species. In the old days, if you were not busy, you would probably starve. If you were not alert, you would likely get hurt, maybe eaten.  So we inherited from our ancestors a tendency to be busy and wary. It is somewhat comforting to have our brains running in high gear much of the time. We may feel more productive and safe that way. But, we can become like the driver who races his car between stoplights. He doesn’t get anywhere faster than the rest of the traffic, but he uses more energy.

The imperative to be busy, to always be doing something, means that our focus shifts rapidly. While we are doing something, we are planning what we will do next. We lose the experience of being in the moment. It may feel like we are driving in a high gear. We might shift from fourth to fifth gear and back readily, but we may never get into low gear. We may never learn the value of idling.

A car that works only in high gears is useless no matter how powerful its engine. We need to downshift our minds sometimes too. We need to shift out of judging, worrying and planning sometimes to just notice who and where we are.

Allow yourself to downshift into a more spacious mind. Find one thing to focus upon. Focus on an object, or a single word or thought, or just upon your breath.

Then, once you are in a lower mental gear, find no thing to focus upon. Just settle into a receptive state.  Open the mind to receive. Receive without judging.

When receiving a gift, one does not ask the price and make an account sheet and rate it against other gifts. One accepts graciously. So  should we do with our experiences at times.

Accept your thoughts and perceptions gratefully, but without becoming involved with them. Just sit and observe your thoughts like scenery going by. You don’t have to do anything about them. They just are and then they are gone.

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© 2010 Tom Barrett