Being Mindful of Success by Áine McGrath

Often I find myself thinking in depth about modern living and the effect it has on the human psyche. I’ve written about it extensively in my journals for several years now, exploring the symptoms and reflecting on the effects of constructed social norms that have corrupted basic human happiness. We live in a high octane, fast-paced world that’s fuelled by stress generated by fickle man-made standards that equate to smoke and mirrors. “Success” is defined in monetary and material terms – but if we take a bit of time to examine what’s really going on we can see that “success” in the modern world is something very different indeed.

Where is the success in having a career that demands all of our time, leaving us with no room to enjoy quality moments with the people with whom we feel real and completely at ease? Is there really success in a job that brings nothing but deadlines, isolation and stress into our lives? Do our demands for “rights”, accountability and retribution become obstacles to our own peace of mind? Are our priorities all wrong?

It pays dividends to take a little bit of time out of every day for the purpose of lone reflection. Sitting still, listening to the sounds that are going on around us, feeling the sensations in our body as we sit quietly and allow our minds to gently settle brings a certain sense of perspective into our chaotic lives. Some people call these windows of reflection “meditation”. It should come naturally to us, but we’ve become so conditioned by socially
constructed chaos that this most natural of human phenomena has become almost impossible for us to access. With that in mind, I’m inclined to believe that true success in life is remaining spiritually and emotionally healthy in a world where our buttons are being pushed 24/7. Breaking the mould and nurturing our own uniqueness has become the exception rather than the rule – and it requires self-awareness and spiritual awakening of the kind that can only be rooted in true inner calmness. It’s difficult to achieve that when we’re constantly surrounded by other people and the majority of our time is taken up with worldly “obligations”. Making time to practice mindfulness at some point in our day helps us to filter out all the background noise, the chaos and the unnecessary demands of modern living with the result that we find a sense of perspective on the world we live in – and how to survive within it. It’s a lifeskill that’s definitely worth having. 🙂

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