Do What You Are Doing – How To Turn Busy-Work Into Meditation

Personal Development What Your Father Should Have Taught You
Thousands of years ago they built an empire that still guides our societies today. Did they say anything we can use in our own lives?


This sounds, at first glance, like a ridiculous saying. Of course, you do what you are doing. But we don’t. And it is human nature to not do it. “Always you look, to the future, Never your mind on where you are, what you are doing.” This admonishment by Master Yoda to Luke Skywalker was first made a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. But it was repeated by Roman schoolmasters to children over 2000 years ago. I could probably have said this same thing to you or anyone you know today…several times. Because we find it very hard to do. Yet study after study proves that we don’t do several things as well as if we just did one. There are other reasons to listen to the Romans and Yoda on this.

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We have been trained to multi-task. We take pride in it. Actually, if it were time for confession, I would say that I am sitting here typing, re-writing, and editing this as I sit with my wife watching Harry Met Sally and discussing what we will have for dinner. But its not confession, so I won’t mention it and hope no one notices. Study after study has proven that when we multi-task we don’t perform as well as if we were wholly present. Apparently, Romans noticed this thousands of years ago, as did Master Yoda. It is, definitely, a human trait because oriental masters also had trouble teaching their students the same thing. The art of Zen Buddhism is built around being wholly present and doing what you are doing.

It is in our nature, proverbs exist for that very reason. They show us the wisdom of billions who went before us. When we focus all our attention on one thing great things happen. Whole books have been written on it. I was going through a difficult time and was seeing a counselor at the VA. One day she asked how I was doing, I said great! I renewed a hobby I used to do when I was a kid. I started painting military miniatures again. Tiny 1 inch tall figures I would research their civil war uniform for their regiment and paint a unit to match. The finely detailed work caused me to focus intently. She got excited “Oh! I know why that works and its made you feel better in everything you do! When you do something like that with extreme focus you activate the same parts of your brain that you do when you are meditating. When your meditating all sorts of positive biochemical changes occur. We know that because of studies.” And she went on, but I won’t.

The Romans, knew that because, unlike us they were very observant and they were trained to pay attention. They noticed that things were done better when people focused and that we seemed to be designed so that positive things happen when we do what we are doing. When we meditate or focus.

So start small. You can always try for longer periods later but don’t start out too big or you will get discouraged. If you like to paint, listen to music, draw, garden, or cooking. It doesn’t even have to be fun. It can be something you have to do like dishes, vacuuming, folding clothes, or sweeping. Whatever it is focus! Do what you are doing.

This is not easy. The Dalai Lama called the mind an unruly monkey that bounces all over. When it goes off track, gently bring it back by concentrating on what you are doing.

Prepare first, gather what you need and prepare to work. Then shut off all the distractions the world will not collapse without you for 15 minutes. Shut off the phone – put it behind you so your not tempted. Same with tablet, and computer shutting off the audio alerts and, for a few minutes at a time for just one week. Do what you are doing.

Try. No, don’t try. Do or do not. There is no try.

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