How to be in the Zone of the Now.
One of my best friends lays here, the victim of an inattentive driver
You endanger my child worse than a drunk driver ever did!
If you talk on the phone and do any other thing while driving you are an ass. You should be ashamed and feel guilty and hate yourself. That several thousand pound bullet you are aiming at other cars is deadly and deadly serious.
So you are a pro car driver. So you are a great parent. So you have important business and great phone skills. So you are thinking about work and a presentation. OK maybe then you can do two at once.
I drive my son on the freeway. And I see people multitask while driving and swerving or speeding up and slowing down all the time. And I hate them. Give me a drunk driver paying attention to the road over a professional woman mother, talking on the phone, while in a hurry to drop off her children and get to an important meeting any day any time.
These people care so little about that fact I have a small child in my small car and they are driving revved up SUVs over the speed limit that they should be jailed now without a hearing.
There are no statistics kept on the mayhem these people cause. Why?
I hope that grabbed your attention but let us really talk about thinking about what we are doing and not something else.
When driving your car think of this song and get in the zone of driving both a deadly
Now forget about cars and machinery and danger.
But look deep into the future. Will you look back and see moments lost because you were really doing something else in your head? Will a Christmas be lost because only by doing several things at once could you prepare and be ready for the love of Christmas.
My favorite is this. The first time dad at the delivery of his baby. So much to do! I was blessed at my first's and my last's births. There were complications, serious ones and decisions were mine. And I had no choice but to take the moment serious and devote total attention to the now. And so I did and I can recall each tear I kissed of my wife's cheek. Each sound like it is now. And the first gasp of air my children took in this world.
You see we must not so distract ourselves that we are not in the moment. For when we are we see miracles that we otherwise would never have noticed.
I can honestly say that my boy and I were in a zone together at the SRF this day.
The Cliche' of being in the moment.
I was meeting with my sangha and we were going around checking in with each other and one of our newer friends started talking about how she was experiencing being in the moment. With glad hearts we listened how she related about how she was noticing a change in her and that during special moments she could actually keep her head right in the moment. She could slow down the million monkeys in her head and pay attention to what was going on at that moment.
Yogi looked at me and asked if I could help our friend in this time of transition. I of course said Namaste' and spoke gently as I could. And this is what I tried to say:
My friend you are doing wonderful to slow your mind and make it focus. It is a place in the road we all must travel in order to reach a further point along that road. Perhaps you are now ready to not pay attention. For when we slow and pay attention we are we and the moment is the moment. When we slow down and do not pay attention but rather be a part of that moment we are in the now. The let go of the self in the equation of life allows us to truly be a part of life and not stand over there in our minds.
My friend thanked me and did as she should and said "I will try to understand". I of course turned to yogi for approval or not and he responded by making clear he was not in that moment between me and my friend. It was given over to us.
The Big Difference
Can you tell the difference between paying attention and being in the moment?
Mumbo Jumbo and that is cool
If the preceding paragraph made you shake your head or think "what freaks" that is cool. Because I can say it another way that is more normal.
You have been transported in reality to the starting line at the Indy 500. How cool it is. But sorry you are not watching. You are in car 15 four rows back. You have about 1 minute to mentally check through operating systems and take a cognizant look around to see surroundings. Then it is go. If at that point you need to look at the inside of your car to see how things are working, you are screwed. From that point on you and the car must be one. There can be no more conscious thought of how things are operating. It must be sensed not tactile seen or heard. There is no time to look at your tachometer or speed, they must be felt. You can not be a spectator to your car. You must be in the zone.
Christians and Atheists
The zone is there for both. Just think that in one thing we share and that is the endless possibilities that we have when we devote ourselves entirely to a task at hand. How we get there may be relevant to another time. But at the moment that we bring our full focus and not view a moment but be a part of the moment we become one with that moment and who and what got us there, while not irrelevant, is not part of the moment.
I have known two heart surgeons in my day. One atheist and one Christian. Both exceptional people and exceptional surgeons. One prays before surgery and one simply follows an exact routine. They do this "religiously". By the time the patient is out neither one is anywhere but inside that patient. Whether we just evolved or whether we are created exactly as we are is irrelevant to the moment. We are.
Maybe reading a book can help us to understand.
Now in the world of people
I practice a hard practice of listening. When my wife speaks to me. There is nothing but her in my head. Distractions are off. Sometimes I must say, "hold on honey give me a sec". And then I take that sec to put life on hold. And I stop and I look at her and I listen and watch and pay attention and then try to become one with her thoughts and concerns. I am Christian and so I call this the practice of love. And indeed anyone can call it that.
Or you can just call it the practice of being with.
I use this in important business meeting also. Laptops out, pen a paper ready, presentation ready, position anticipated and ready. And then the other side speaks. And it all goes away. I practice "being on the same page" as them.
Trimming my roses is a place where all else leads and it is just me and the rose
Back to the whacked out driver
We can run our lives that way and indeed probably when we are talking on the phone, loading some laundry, starting some cooking and have one eye on junior playing in the sand box it is a cool spot to be in. I mean that, what I just described can also be the zone. And if we look at it to see how well we can do it and set our minds to doing each task with half our brain tied into another task it is really quite fun.
Same for work. I have 3 offices that I regularly go into. I do not generally hang out in any of them so that when I do go in, the barrage hits me like a hurricane on steroids. And I love being in that moment when two people are asking questions and one is handing me something and a boss is summoning me into a meeting and one call is on hold.
So multitasking can be the moment if we allow ourselves not to get stressed over it but rather get "into" it.
But don't you dare do that while driving that deadly machine right next to my child.
Do this instead. Give yourself a break while driving and become one with your car and the flow of traffic around you and enjoy getting into the moment of driving. And you will leave your car in peace and not pieces and be more ready to enter your day.