This month we have covered different aspects of implementing mindfulness in our everyday life. We are all different, and as already mentioned, each one of us needs to figure out what does "mindful" mean in my own world......and how can I implement mindfulness. But I also think that it is equally important to learn from one another, to exchange ideas and thoughts in order to grow. That's why I am extremely happy to have Jan (who has already written a few blogs for Slow·o·lution) share his journey so far. An interesting journey of leaving a comfortable life and a consulting job in Switzerland in the search for deeper meaning in life, and the desire to experience deep, sustained inner silence. A journey that took him all the way to South East Asia, where he continues the search for all these and much more.
Tell us about yourself!
Boring… to me, haha… some people enjoy talking about themselves. I’m not one of those people. I do enjoy reflecting on life and if some episode from my life is helpful to illustrate a point that I'm trying to bring across, then i will make a brief excursion about myself, some experience i had.
What made you rethink your lifestyle?
I don’t remember rethinking my lifestyle. sometimes i just feel like doing something and then I do… there are times when that leads to a change of lifestyle, but I don’t remember ever thinking that i need to change something about my lifestyle. Any lifestyle change was always triggered by some desires coupled with experiences.
Every new beginning is difficult - how did you stay motivated?
It was easy, because it was prompted by a strong desire. but there was no goal that I set for myself, nothing to be achieved as such. so there was never a need for motivation. Motivation is only needed to achieve something through a path that we don’t enjoy. I enjoy my life. The very joy of the experience of life is the motivation.
How did you go about setting goals for yourself?
I didn’t set any goals. I just kept following an impulse, a desire.
How long did it take you until this change became a lifestyle, normal part of your everyday life?
It never became a lifestyle. It became a living reality. That happened in stages over time and keeps continuing. I can’t really say that these stages had a beginning either. It’s just an ongoing process.
Did you have any setbacks, and how did you overcome them?
Every development is a part of one’s path. The idea of a “setback” only occurs when we think of reaching a goal in a linear fashion. But life and its unfoldment and development is never linear.
How do you stay mindful on the go or when you travel?
I don’t. I don’t stay mindful and certainly I never try to be mindful. But I have an interest in life, I have an interest in my experience of life. So my mind tends to enjoy some focus.
Did this change affect your social lifestyle?
I have gone through many changes in social lifestyle. I enjoy a wide variety of social interactions. Sometimes I even enjoy the superficial ones, and I enjoy being alone, by myself.
How has your life, health and overall wellbeing changed throughout this process?
When we dream, we take that as reality. Then, when we wake up in the morning, we forget the dream and just go about our activities. When we fall asleep, we quickly forget all. These are aspects of life, phases of life, they come and go. We don’t even think about them. We take them as granted. Only right when we wake up from the dream, we are somewhere in a “middle state”, where we remember the dream world, but are already awake to our surroundings. But that passes quickly and throughout the day we don’t think about the dream reality, we don’t even remember that there was a dream reality the night before. In the same way, changes in life can be as drastic as day and night and after some time we would not even remember the “old life” anymore.
Health and well-being depend on many factors, such as leading a balanced life and cultivating healthy habits. A “fully conscious” person can still fall sick and even lead an unbalanced life.
What did you learn about you throughout this lifestyle change?
I learned to listen and look better, and I started accepting some things about myself and wanting to change other things. It’s the same process as for everyone else, we constantly find out things about ourselves and that very realisation triggers changes. We rediscover ourselves on a daily basis. What has changed is that it’s easier for me to look at things and to allow for certain changes to take place.
What kind of advise can you give to anyone looking to change their lifestyle to a more mindful one?
1) Learn from your desires. They may be your best teachers and guides. Let them lead you, but don’t follow them blindly.
2) Take breaks from what you do and don’t forget to breathe. Take time every day to breathe. But instead of just passing air through your nose or mouth, start to experience your breathing. There is so much life in each breath. When you find joy in the simplicity of a breath, you’ll be able to find joy in just about anything.