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Monday, February 15, 2016

A lesson in mindfulness from Geet Sethi

Mindfulness really means staying immersed, focused and concentrating on whatever you are doing, without letting your mind wander into the past or the future.

Geet Sethi
Picture Courtesy: The Hindu/Internet
We were guests at the recent annual convention of the Madras Management Association. One of the speakers at the event was Geet Sethi, nine-time World Billiards Champion. Sethi’s talk was inspiring, simple and evocative. He rightly demystified success as being different from the popular notion that people hold of it – which is acquiring name, fame and money. He said that true success is when you can enjoy and love what you are doing. “When you have a meditative experience whenever you do what you love doing, that feeling is success,” he explained. He urged that we simplify our lives. He said that the mind is the most important part of the human experience; and reining in your mind is the biggest challenge, yet the biggest opportunity, you have. Sethi added: “We must stop this incessant wanting in us to grab, acquire and possess more. Keep Life simple. Every time I bought a car or a house, I lost a World Championship. All my distractions were so time-consuming. When I saw the pattern I realized that I was losing focus and concentration on my game. So, when you are pursuing something, stay immersed. Stay focused.”

What Sethi is advocating is mindfulness. While his advice is very relevant for those who are targeting high-performance – like an Olympic Gold or a business target – that requires consistent dedication to the cause over a period of time, even in everyday living mindfulness is key to inner peace. All of us are veterans at worrying. More than the art of living, for which we ironically believe we need to go learn from someone else, we are masters at letting our mind graze in the past or in the future. Resultantly, the mind is never in the present moment. It is only in the now, in the present, that you can find the peace that you so desperately seek. This is why many of us are searching for peace. Practising mindfulness simply means you have to train your mind not to slip away from the present moment. Like any other form of training, this requires diligence and an initial continuous 21-day practice discipline.

Once you learn to control your mind, once you learn to be mindful, then each moment is an immersive, meditative experience in whatever you are involved in, in whatever is happening to you. That, and only that, is the way to being peaceful and happy!  

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