lot of people think that multitasking is a cool thing to do. There are some studies going on that show people who do many things at one time, get a false sense of pride thinking that they are doing so amazing because they are able to do multiple things at the same time. Studies suggest that multitasking may not necessarily have a good effect on people’s mental well-being and mind. Studies also suggest that multitasking could even cause a breakdown or a burnout. In this article, we will learn about the effects of multitasking and what we can do to improve the quality of life.
Effects of Multitasking
This actually relates very closely to what we think meditation is. Even though now we're trying to understand things from a more broad perspective and are trying to break out of the ideology that meditation is only sitting down with our eyes closed and sitting in a certain posture with our hands in a certain way and then trying to focus and meditate on something. This is just a stepping stone. Meditation actually means to become conscious in all aspects of our lives.
How many of you can relate to sitting on the breakfast table and starting to eat your breakfast but then having a chat and then switching the TV on and getting your phone out to put on YouTube while trying to eat your own food. So you try to feed your child while listening to something and have a quick conversation. We get to the office and we eat at our desks while looking at the screen. We're not even acknowledging the food that we're actually taking in and not being present. It's not just with food, we're doing this with so many things. It was very common that people would have music on in the background whilst they're driving the car and enjoying the moment but now we even try to watch a video or read an article while driving a car. We are trying to fit in and trying to do so many things in one go. This is taking us further and further away from experiencing what we call life, the Source of Life,and the manifestation of Nirankaar (formless), that formless One Divine.
Being Conscious of Our Actions
So during Meditation, I experienced a wake-up call that felt like a slap to the face. Once, we were sitting down with a great saintly being. We sat down to eat some food and somebody (that was seeking to go deeper inside of themselves to have that realization) asked another Gursikh (Sikh of the Guru) to ask the question to this great being. That person said, I wake up in the early hours of the morning and I chant God’s Name and I repeat "Vaheguru (Wonderous Englightener), Vaheguru" for an hour. I do my Nitnem and I read Gurbani (Guru's words) but I still feel like I need to do more. There's something that still feels missing.
The saintly being answered that to start having an experience and go deeper, the first step to take is about shutting up and eating your food now without talking. We went all quiet, thinking wow. It's exactly what Gurbani says as well that we need to take our meditation in every moment of our life. We all read or talk about the Saas Giraas (with each breath and morsel of food) which is often translated into breath in breath out but we often miss out the word Giraas (each morsel of food). Giraas comes from the word Grahi and the word Grahe comes from the word Tota, a little piece referring to a grain of Roti/Bread. How conscious are we, how focused are we when we're putting that in our mouth? I feel shameful for speaking about this because even knowing I have this knowledge, I still struggle to actually practice this. Why? because of habits. Habits are difficult to break out of but those little moments of practicing small things will make us feel more centered, more balanced and at peace. Many times people give us many different Jugtia (methods), many different ways of sitting while keeping our back straight or sitting in a certain posture.
Do You Accept the Challenge?
Just look at our food that is placed before us and be thankful or recite some Gurbani before we start eating. Some people decide to take a Salok (short hymn) from Sukhmani Sahib (Prayer of peace). Some people decide to take different parts of Gurbani. The following is an example of such Shabads.
ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਅਰੁ ਲੋਭ ਮੋਹ ਬਿਨਸਿ ਜਾਇ ਅਹੰਮੇਵ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਸਰਣਾਗਤੀ ਕਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦੁ ਗੁਰਦੇਵ ॥੧॥
ਜਿਹ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ਛਤੀਹ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਖਾਹਿ ॥ ਤਿਸੁ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਕਉ ਰਖੁ ਮਨ ਮਾਹਿ ॥
Thanking or saying whatever Grace in whichever way, we are looking at the food and it's not just saying the Guru's words, but it's actually feeling and experiencing that moment. Just looking at the food and saying that with the grace of that One, I'm privileged, and fortunate enough to have this food in front of me. I keep the Thakur (giver), within my mind. That becomes my Dhiaan (focus), my Bhagti (meditation) and my devotion towards the One. I know that I've not created the Earth to be able to get that food and grains. I know there's somebody behind there that's provided the necessities for me to be able to get that so my Dhiaan is in the One. I do nothing else during that time. No computer. No talking. No, nothing, but I watch myself take a morsel of food with every breath and just be present with life for that moment.
We Are Always Distracted
We're eating food and thinking that I need to finish this food so I can get to school. I'm going to go and eat this Langar (free communal food) quickly and I'm going to get into Darbar Sahib (Court, Gurdwara hall) and connect to Vaheguru. I'm going to eat this breakfast quickly so I can go out and earn money because that's what we need. I'm going to go to school and learn because that's what I need. But no, we are missing life. We're forgetting to live in the moment, to be in that meditative state in the moment. There's nowhere to get to, Sangat Ji. There isn’t going to be anything greater than living in the present moment. Being conscious of that moment is also, if not more powerful, as meditation when we try to sit, just taking that in and having the realization of that One being behind it. The One that is giving me because my focus is there and I'm not doing anything else. It will definitely start to change our lives.
When we're showering in the morning, we usually read Shabads (hymns) and Jap (chant/ recitation) of mantras. It is great but how about one day, we try to shower, have appreciation for that water and read the Shabads before or after the shower. Are we the Creator of that water? No.That's why we say that water is like a father. Having that appreciation for that water that I have no power over it. It's a part of being the source of my life. Being present for every sensation that happens when the water is going upon our body and cleansing us. That's meditation too and not thinking that after the shower I'm gonna sit down to do Bhagti.
Remember Sangat Ji, sometimes when we get to that place, it's not as great as we thought it was going to be. Because of that expectation we think that we waited all this time to get here and it's not even what I thought it was going to be. But if we just drop in that moment and appreciate it, then It will definitely start to put us at ease and take away our anxieties. It will start to take away thinking we need to get somewhere and realizing this very moment is amazing and beautiful. We need to just be in that realization of how great every moment actually is. This can be practiced from the moment you wake up, like we covered showering and eating. Now you just put it into situations in your own life. When somebody's talking to you, do not click away on that phone, just listen to the person. Forgetting everything else for that moment, just being absorbed in that person speaking to us. It can be very powerful to be present at that moment with that person. That is meditation.
This article is a transcribed version of the video.