More than I’d like to admit, I seem to spend much of the day drifting along on auto-pilot. While my mind falls repeatedly into ceaseless streams of thought and is swept away from the present moment, my body moves along almost unconsciously from one activity to the next. It’s a very disembodied and disconnected experience, and for most of us it’s a long-standing habit.
The big challenge comes when I call on my mind to attend to my loved ones in the here-and-now. It’s not always easy to slow down, to stop, and to deeply connect with them. It can often feel like this auto-pilot mode develops a sort of momentum that repeatedly carries me away from those human connections I value so much.
A little practice that I use often to counteract the auto-pilot mode is to repeat the phrase “I Love You” in my own mind like a mantra. I say it clearly, softly, and slowly a few times when I’m with my loved ones and I’ve found that it easily settles my mind into the present moment, quiets the mental chatter, helps me feel more deeply connected with them, and softens my heart at the same time. Feel free to experiment with whatever phrase or mantra feels right to you, but try it out a few times.
Try it out with other relationships too. Say it to the other drivers on the road, to anyone else with you in the grocery aisle, to your friends, to your co-workers and associates, and to anyone else you happen to come in contact with. You don't have to be obvious about it, and you don't even have to feel anything amazing or "spiritual." Just try it out with a sense of openness and curiosity and see what the experience is like.
Oh, and by the way, "I love you." :)
Make sure to check out our other mindfulness resources, groups, and events, and feel to contact me anytime for anything. I look forward to hearing from you.