7th March 2023
Are you “nexting” your life away?
I used to teach mindfulness at Coventry University and one particular morning I was waiting in a traffic jam signing along to Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. There are often traffic jams in the UK so we are fairly used to them.
As I was sitting there I looked to my left and there was a woman walking along and texting on her phone. A few moments later I glanced back toward her and noticed she was leaning forward and rushing whilst texting. Then my mind played with the word texting and the word NEXTING came to mind.
Then PING!, I realised that “nexting” is what many of us do much of the time. There seems to be a widely held belief- even though we are not always fully conscious of it - that this moment isn’t enough, I need to be in the next moment.
We may be washing the dishes, or of course nowadays often emptying the dishwasher, drinking tea, walking from one room to another or just tying shoe laces, but much of the time we are thinking about the next moment. Our attention is rarely here in the present with what we are doing. Much of the time the body is doing one thing and the mind is doing another.
This wouldn’t be so bad if those thoughts were always creative, positive or just practical, but often they are not.
Mark Twain once said, “I’m an old man, I have had many problems, most of which never happened.” This is the case with most of us, the mind just dwelling on problems in the future, many of which it just creates out of nothing. I am not saying they aren’t some genuine problems but, when we begin to see just how much distress our own thinking creates it is eye opening.
When we spend out time “nexting” which is similar to saying that we spend most of our time in the head, we, in a sense, skim across life. We don’t savour the moment, we don’t taste life as it’s happening, because we are too busy thinking about it. What we yearn for is depth, to touch life, to be moved by it, to know it intimately and to live our life in what we can call the present moment.
When we live in the mind in this way- we can find life rather boring and lacking a sense of satisfaction.
On our meditation retreats and mindfulness courses this is what we are forever pointing our students to. We get them to see for themselves just how much of their time they are “nexting”, and living in the head and show them how to move out of the head and into the body, or as I often say, to move from a life of over thinking to a life of sensing.
I am not saying the mind or thinking are bad, far from it. The mind, the ability to think is a wonderful tool, but that is all it is, a tool. The mind helps create, wonderful things, art, music, feats of engineering, cures for diseases, all wonderful. However, it creates something else too, it creates, stress, it creates self doubt, it creates much emotional and psychological suffering.
To appreciate life we need to live in the senses, we cannot appreciate life when we are locked into
the mind, because the mind takes us away form what is right before our eyes.
Tagged as: nexting
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