Zoning Out

On occasion, I find myself being completely distracted for long periods of time. I could be browsing the web, watching TV, driving or taking a shower. After a while, I realize that I have just lost time in doing something I had no intention of doing for that long or doing at all. I ask myself, “How could this happen? Where did I go for that long?”

Sometimes, there are circumstances that push me towards zoning out. If I am procrastinating, I immediately lose focus on what I am attempting to do and just open that new browser tab or flip on the television. Eventually, I will come back to my senses and start doing what I was meaning to do. Sometimes, I don’t get back to doing it and go off and find something else to do (hopefully it is something worthwhile).

Procrastination seems to be common with most everyone. There are a number of ways to tackle it. It is not causing too many issues with my life. I end up doing the things I need to do. So, I am not too worried about it.

But other times I am not procrastinating. When I shower, I am half asleep. I couldn’t concentrate on what is happening if I tried. If I got more sleep, it wouldn’t be a struggle to wake up and I, probably, would not zone out as much within the shower.

Driving, on the other hand, is more difficult to fix. Driving is boring. It is especially boring when I am driving to and from work. It is the same route over and over again.  Traffic sucks. Zoning out is my solace while stuck in traffic. Do I really want to stop zoning out in traffic? Is zoning out that bad?

It is.  Skip to problem 6 in Mindfulness in Plain English.  ”Mindfulness is never boring. Look again. Don’t assume that you know what breath is. Don’t take it for granted that you have already seen everything there is to see … Mindfulness looks at everything with the eyes of a child, with the sense of wonder.”

That same wonder that Sagan mentions as the driving force in science, can be found when being mindful of my surroundings. Even if those surroundings involve loud trucks, dirty roads, brake lights and exhaust fumes. Every experience is different. New aspects of my environment can be observed and understood.

I have mentioned being mindful in the car previously. It seems as if my focus has drifted away from doing that. It is time to bring that focus back.

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