I came across a book by Paulo Coello a few years ago and ever since have enjoyed finding other books he’s written. I often buy a book and put it on my book case, waiting for the time when I want to read and that book jumps out at me as the right book to read at that particular moment.
This was the case with the book that I’m currently reading, The Valkyries. I received the book as a Christmas present last year from my mum who has heard me ramble on about how good Paulo’s books are on many occasions and has a list of the titles I’ve not yet read or picked up and added to my ‘to read’ pile. Late last week however, I felt compelled to choose another book after finishing Memoirs of a Geisha, having enjoyed some time relaxing among the pages of a good book.
The books Paulo writes always have messages for the reader, some more apparent and others more subtle. Every book of his I have read however has left me feeling like I was meant to receive that message at the time when I read the book, because in one way or another, it coincides with or answers questions I am pondering or decisions I’m thinking of making.
One of the things discussed early on in The Valkyries is the existence of the Second Mind. The Second Mind is something we all have, and something we encounter every day of our lives. If you’ve ever sat trying to work on a task but been distracted by thoughts of bills that need paying, an event you’re planning or attending or an increasing to-do list at home or work, you’ll be very familiar with the Second Mind. Sometimes it plays songs that you’ve heard on the radio as background noise to you hoovering, or takes over with worries and insecurities when you’re supposed to be listening to somebody speaking in a meeting.
The part I’m reading now discusses taking control of the Second Mind, but the mention of the Second Mind got me pondering over thoughts that had been in my head over the past week. I previously did weekly meditation, and as somebody who frequently has a mind that ‘chatters’ a great deal, enjoyed the quiet and control I was beginning to establish. Needless to say, I have intentions to restart my meditation on a regular basis and for a longer period of time, but I have used its power on a number of occasions when my Second Mind has been affecting my productivity.
Completing a ‘micro meditation’, I have simply focussed on my breathing with my eyes closed and given myself two minutes of quiet and calmness. I can assure you, this is possible even in a room with phones ringing and the radio playing, after all finding true quiet is nearly impossible! Every time I have taken this approach, I have found a clarity in my mind that has enabled me to work through my current task at a quicker pace, giving satisfaction as my whole attention is on the task at hand.
Previously I just knew this worked for me; now however, I know it is my Second Mind I am calming and clearing in order to make way for ordered and organised thought. Perhaps for people new to meditation, practice would initially would be needed to be able to recognise the calm feeling of a successful meditation, but however I achieved this, I have learnt the benefits of increased productivity from taking a little time to settle my mind.
Although my mind chatter can still take over from time to time, I believe with more practice and discipline, a lot more confidence with this technique could be gained, and I strongly recommend to anyone that the satisfaction that comes from taking control of the racing thoughts and concerns can give almost a sense of peace, and certainly a great sense of achievement. The sacrifice of less than 2 minutes can keep you on task, saving you perhaps an hour over the course of the day, and means taking positive action rather than berating yourself for finding it hard to maintain your focus.