Waking up the Witness
Have you ever had the experience where you’ve driven home, but you don’t remember doing it? It’s almost like you’ve been asleep only to wake up in your driveway. This used to happen to me all of the time when I was in college and at times it was very frightening because I literary felt like I had woken up a block from my house after a long dose. This stopped happening to me once I began to pay attention to what I was thinking and where my mind was going. Paying attention or watching your thoughts serves two purposes; one, you won’t run anyone over on the way home from work and, two you are less likely to suffer from the anxiety, fear and worry that accompany the gaps between what you are doing and what you are thinking.
Your mindfulness practice for this month is to simply pay attention to your thoughts. Notice when you’re thinking about work while you’re at home or when you’re thinking about anything else other than what you are presently doing. It is very easy. You just tell yourself, “I am going to watch my thoughts.” Notice how you feel when your mind is off thinking about the past or the future. Does it create a sense of peace and wellbeing or does it create anxiety and worry? Paying attention to your thoughts is the first step in any practice where your goal is less stress and the cultivation of happiness.