Does your mind ever hook you away from what you’re doing? If you’re human, the answer is most likely – yes (and often). Last week in my morning yoga class my mind did exactly that. It hijacked me and took me off on a journey I didn’t want to take.

I was holding an asana (pose) and probably looked quite present – because that’s the whole idea – to stay present with my body and breath. Let thinking go.

But I was not present. I was completely distracted. The irony (as a mindfulness consultant) is not lost on me…

If I were to give my brain a separate persona to tell this story, it’d go like this…

Brain: “Now remember, you’ve got that virtual team session coming up. The focus is on absentmindedness, so you’d better prepare so you don’t muck it up.”

Me: “Thanks brain, that’s a really good idea. I’ll spend some time this afternoon going over that.”

Brain: “Great. It’ll go much better if you prepare. Don’t leave it to the last minute!”

Me: “No, I won’t. I’ll definitely do it this afternoon.”

Brain: “Just look at you! You’re in the middle of a yoga class. Instead, you’re completely distracted! You’re supposed to let thinking go and connect with the present moment (aka yoga), but instead, you’re thinking about how to best explain absentmindedness to the group. You’re such a flake!”

Me: “Shoot. You’re right. Okay, let go of thinking, come back to my body, just breathe…”

Brain: “Then again, that’ll make a really good story to explain what a slippery little sucker the mind is. You can tell people about what happened to you at yoga! That’ll be so funny. Sure to get a laugh.”

Me: “Oh yeah, you’re right. Great idea. I’ll do that.”

Brain: “Idiot, you’re doing it again! You’re totally distracted. You’re not practising yoga; you’re just having a good old think! Seriously, there’s no hope for you.”

Me: “Duh!”

What I’m describing here is the classic dialogue going on inside us all, most of the time.

Although my clever brain was trying to be helpful (by planning for things that might go wrong and reminding me about things that did) instead, it was getting in the way.

That was not the best time to be preparing anything. It was time to ‘do’ yoga.

And did you notice that in trying to make things better, my own mind guilted me into feeling bad by calling me names?

Luckily, I saw what my overly helpful brain was up to, thanked it, unhooked from unhelpful thinking, and returned my attention to what I was doing. That doesn’t mean I always do, but mostly.

Might sound simple, but it’s not. It takes time and repeated practice, especially if you have a particularly nasty inner critic.

But stop and ask yourself, what’s the impact of not knowing what your mind is up to?

Makes you think, doesn’t it? (no pun intended)

My work involves exposing the impact of a lack of awareness. When you expose unhelpful thinking life begins to look & feel very different. If you’re looking for a coach who works in this area, get in touch.