Stop and Think

As I passed the local Municipal library the other day, I noticed it was particularly busy with people coming and going. Displayed prominently outside the entrance was a sign that said, “Stop and Think.” It was a notice warning visitors not to enter if they had COVID-like symptoms. From my short period of observation I did not see any person actually stop and think about the information contained in the notice. Indeed, most people just rushed past without giving it any attention. Now, many of these people might be regulars and see the sign every day or so at and have become desensitised to it.

Our daily life is like this in so many respects. Even import messages become invisible as we succumb to the frenetic pace of living – even in our COVID constrained communities. For many of us it is a matter of operating on autopilot for much of the day. Our reflexes rather than considered decisions determine our actions. Yet this unconscious behaviour encourages lack of concentration, resulting in our overlooking important details, causing us to have accidents and in some cases, placing ourselves in physical danger. I remember when beginning to travel overseas, being told to be constantly aware of my surroundings and to be alert to the movement of people, animals and vehicles. It was an important strategy, I was told, in avoiding getting lost, run over or pick-pocketed.

In modern parlance this might be called mindfulness – often described as the practice of paying attention in the present moment through the deliberate observation of one’s own thoughts, emotions and body state. In simple terms that means wherever you are and whatever you are doing, take time to stop and think about what it is you are doing and what direction that is taking you. It is very easy to let the mind wander across all those concerns of daily life, especially under current circumstances and to allow our thinking to drift away from its proper course. It’s not a big deal, it happens to us all. Here are some useful tips available to help focus daily behaviours on a more mindful approach. https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/ 

When next you pass the “Stop and Think” sign, stop and think about it.

Stop and Think

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