Starting 2017 with Non-Doing

As soon as December rolls around, people often start thinking about their New Year’s resolutions. Whether it is getting fit, pursuing a passion or trying
harder at work, most of these resolutions seem to fizzle out towards the end of February. In fact, anecdotal sources state that 92% of New Year’s goals
fail by 15 January. Perhaps it is time to explore another approach.

The most important part of life is finding peace and fulfilment. So try thinking about what makes you happy, what you can be grateful about, what makes
you laugh with joy and what gives you a deep sense of satisfaction. This can be anything. Is it playing a sport? Spending time with your family? Having
a coffee with friends? Maybe there are multiple things or maybe there’s one standout activity. Whatever it is, highlight it in your mind. This serves
as a simple reminder as to what truly matters to us.

If you’re not making this source of happiness a priority right now, it is most likely because your brain is over-cluttered and you’re not able to manage
your attention. There are too many thoughts bouncing around your head and so you don’t even know how to attend to what really matters. It’s almost
like someone else is running the show in your head and you’re just a passenger going along for the ride.

Interestingly, most of our brain power goes towards remembering memories and creating perfect scenarios. We spend most of our time thinking about the past
or dreaming of the future, to the extent that we miss out on what’s happening right now. To break out of this autopilot cycle, we need to cultivate
the mindful ability to be fully open to what’s happening right now, where we are in life and how we are feeling.

If you’re feeling sad, disappointed or hurt, then embrace the fact that that’s how you feel. When we can accept what’s really happening right now, we can
then choose how to respond to the present moment with intention and wisdom. Only then can we move towards what matters to us. As Lama Surya Das shares,
“If we are not here now, we won’t be there then.” This is the key to finding peace in this frantic world – something I think we can all agree that
we want.

We cultivate mindfulness by meditating. Meditation trains our brain to immerse in the moment so that we are able to respond intentionally and not be swept
away by the currents of life. It helps us develop a sense of deep equanimity, calm and composure. On top of this, here are some other researched and
validated benefits of meditation:

  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Reduces careless mistakes
  • Increases creativity
  • Enhances memory
  • Enhances quality of sleep
  • Improves focus and reduces procrastination

To start the new year right, you don’t need a complete turnaround. Leave the striving, wanting, achieving and doing by the side. If these mental activities
pop into your head, simply shrug your shoulders and let them be. Instead, take 5 minutes to sit in silence. Listen to your breath, listen to the aircon
vent, listen to the traffic, listen to the buzz. Listen to your very own life, including all the mental activities, and watch it unfold. This is when
the real new year celebration starts.

You may have met Anna by now – the protagonist of our new comic “Portrait of a Corporate Athlete”. She works in a MNC in middle management, she’s aspirational, positive, and intentional. But is that enough to climb the corporate ladder? To follow her as she navigates the economic jungle of 2017, be sure to subscribe to our monthly newsletter to receive the latest edition.

If you’re keen to realize some of the benefits of meditation mentioned in the article, join our mindfulness programs and events. Check out our Events page for the latest schedule and details. 



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