By Dr. Roger Landry, MD, MPH
I have a game, of sorts, I play with my grandchildren. When they are getting all wound up with excitement, out of the blue I will ask them, “What’s the most important thing you will be doing today?” They smile because I have asked them this question many times over their young lives. They smile because they know the answer. Without hesitation and with the pride only a young face can beam out like a lighthouse, they answer. “What I’m doing right now, Papa. What I’m doing this minute.”
I’m not sure they completely understand the significance of this answer. How could they when most of we adults do not? We are talking about being in the present moment, about mindfulness, about the very core of our spiritual nature.
Mindfulness is a state we humans are rarely in. Our chattering minds, fueled by a society and lifestyle which seems to move faster and faster, dominate our consciousness. Our minds have us thinking about the future, the past and our to‐ do list; about why I have this arthritis, what my neighbor meant by that remark or how the world will end if this person gets elected.
We seem to be always judging, evaluating, obsessing or complaining. All this stuff that our overactive minds glob on takes us away from the mystery of this magnificent gift of life we all share. It takes us from the awareness of this beautiful and special moment where life is lived. It takes us further from the place where we experience our magnificent spiritual nature. It is a tragedy that creates enormous amounts of damaging stress, and it is rampant in our society.
Spirituality is critical to our health and to our aging in a better way. Wherever we can find mindfulness … awareness without thought … must be places we seek out regularly. Whether it is with faith, or nature, or music, or animals, or children, or art or a craft; we must seek those places where we can just BE … aware, peaceful and in harmony with the world.