A distracted mind often fails to help us work efficiently and effectively, and that is why the work we do does not always yield the best results.
A Zen guru was teaching his disciple how to develop the right attitude towards life and work.
The disciple asked his master, “How shall I develop mental discipline in my search for the truth?”
The master replied, “You must exercise yourself”
“How may I exercise myself?”
“You must eat when you are hungry; you must sleep when you are tired.”
The disciple was confused. Surely, there had to be more to this instruction, which he had failed to grasp so far.
“But that is what everyone does,” he said. “Do you mean to say that is sufficient to exercise oneself in order to acquire discipline?”
“But that is what most people do not do. When they eat, they are simultaneously doing a 100 other things. When they sleep, they are dreaming of a million things. That is not what I mean by exercise.”
Exercise your mind, train it to live in the present moment, in the here and now, whether you are working, eating or sleeping.
Many of us let the past eclipse our present. We waste our time gazing too frequently into the past. We hold onto the regrets of the past or the fears of the future so tightly that there is no room to think of the present.
Alice Morse Earle once said, “Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.”
Every time you find your thoughts wandering towards the past or worrying about the future, draw them back to the present and repeat the words ‘present moment’ several times. Learn to focus on the present instead of dwelling on the past or the future; both are a futile exercise.