William James - the great philosopher and psychologist - talked about the “ceaseless frenzy” in which we always feel that we “should be doing something else.”
Do you ever feel this way?
You sit to read and you think, "I should be doing something more productive."
You watch TV but keep flipping channels, sure that you are missing out on a better show.
You are playing with your kids and all you can think about is work.
You are working and all you can think about it playing with your kids.
You are on vacation and counting the days until you return home.
You return home and all you can think about is going on vacation.
Why do we do this?
Why do we miss our life thinking about anything other than what is happening in the moment?
Why do we get to the moment we've been thinking we want to get to and immediately begin yearning for another moment?
Why do we miss it all by giving into this never-satisfied yearning?
I know brain science and evolutionary biology explain some of this strange curse of being human.
I know that the pace of life right now, the barrage of information that bombards us, the world of social media at our fingertips ... these all play a role.
I am more concerned with the what to do about this? question, than I am the why do we do this? question.
I have been attempting to censor this ceaseless frenzy in my own life through a daily practice of guided meditation - the simple practice of disciplining myself to be here, now.
As well as a simple practice of guided yoga, moving my body intentionally and aligning each movement with an internal grounding mechanism, my breath.
I sometimes whisper to myself, "Be here." Or "Don't miss it."
Often, I stand still, close my eyes and listen, or feel all four corners of my feet on the earth.
The other morning I stood outside, closed my eyes and focused on feeling cold, prickly snowflakes gently touch my skin.
For a moment, I was fully here. In the now. And I smiled.
What do you do to quiet - even for a heartbeat or two - the ceaseless frenzy to feel like you should be doing something else?