Mary Cheung, Head Illustrator
So you have an exam coming up and you’re freaking out: meditate. Your sweetie decided to break your five year relationship up over facebook: meditate. You’re sitting alone a few minutes before your next class: meditate. Upset about your boss cutting your hours at work? Meditate!
In this society, we live in a state of being constantly plugged in. We form attachments to our cell phones, our headphones and our laptops. Perhaps you’ve encountered a day when you’ve forgotten your cell phone. Did you worry about the number of calls or texts you would miss or did you beat yourself up for being unaware of it before leaving your house?
Imagine the worst possible result for not having your cell phone: you miss a call from your wife, who may be going into labor at any minute; you cannot text someone to take over your shift for the evening; your friends decide to go to the movies without you because they thought you ignored their calls. After imagining the worst possible situation, it is likely that you see that your worries don’t accomplish anything but take away your time from finding the best possible or the simplest solution: letting go.
This summer I had the misfortune of hearing the ticking time bomb of death from my external hard drive. I was intrigued by the sound, but no worry crossed my mind until my laptop could not access the hard drive anymore. All my files were erased. I panicked to find a solution, but the first thing that I did was lament over the only files I had of my recent years of work in photography and writing.
For the next few weeks, I continued to cling on to all that I’d lost. I spent much energy in feeling victimized by the failures of technology. I complained about the cost to replace priceless data. But mostly, I wasted the time that could have been spent being productive and collecting new data by stressing myself out.
Of course, that experience does not compare to losing a family member or losing a home to a natural disaster. However unfortunate some experiences may be, time moves on: we are still alive and breathing. In wrapping our mind with worries we eliminate our ability to clear the clutter and act rationally. Take the advice of this Chinese proverb: That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.
Your mind deserves a time out, whether it is two minutes or ten minutes or twenty minutes. Within that time, remember to breathe. As an exercise that may seem difficult for some and easy for others, close your eyes and concentrate on counting your breaths, relieving the stress from yesterday, today, or for tomorrow. Surely it will improve your concentration, detach yourself from burdens, promote better health and give you a deeper understanding of yourself more than anything that you can buy.