During my service with the Military, my wife often asked me if I was ever scared while in a life critical mission-which had me introspect.
Although fear was not uncommon when death could be just round the corner, my brain was trained to “replace” fear with an intense focus on the present course of action.
Later in my life, with a deeper understanding of how our minds work, I realised that an intrinsic part of the basic Military Training was to control the emotions that we had, to prevent it from interfering with the task at hand.
I delved deeper: what did I “think” while in a combat operation?
This is where I realised, how mindfulness enables the military to operate in difficult conditions and augments soldiers to deliver demanding results in time critical missions – often in inhospitable, uncertain, volatile and ambiguous environments – almost similar or less than what we we have to deal with in our everyday lives.
“Being in the NOW” – this was one of the most important survival techniques we have learnt and mastered to keep ourselves focused on the goal.
“NOW” is – “THIS” moment – this very moment, when you are reading THIS word.
When we went on a mission, we were 100% attentive in taking that next step, in looking around for hostiles, ambushes and possible minefields. We were present in that very moment – with body, mind and soul – not in the past, neither in the future, because pondering over anything else but the present might cost us our lives.
Fear, is a horrific picture our mind paints for us for the future based on our past experience. Something might happen, I might fail, I might not be good enough, I might die….being in the now leaves little scope for our fear to cripple us and helps us perform at our “present”, utmost potential.
As you are reading this are you ONLY reading this?
When you choose to attend the myriad of tasks in your professional or personal lives, are you totally invested in that task ? It is only when our mind, heart AND body are in alignment that we perform at the optimal level, just like we did in the army.
Mindfulness is also a great way to keep our unwanted emotions at check – and to stop them from hindering with our lives.
This is not to suggest that we should not visit our past or plan for the future – they are an integral part of our life’s timeline, because we need to draw from our experience and plan for the future but not dwell in them.
NOW is the only moment that you have control over; so Seize the Moment.