Monday, February 20, 2012

Are you trapped in the turbulence?

I despise the act of littering. However part of me considers the abandoned footballs in the Tevere below Ponte Garibaldi,  to be somewhat akin to a public sculpture. 

I found myself transfixed to their movements the other day.  As I watched them being thrown around at random, swirling, tossing, turning, bouncing and bobbing in the noisy turbulence of the river, trapped there,  apparently unable to escape...they could be an artist's impression of our minds. 

They say that the average person has 100 thoughts per minute1.   Arguably many of those 100, notably with a high emotional charge, recur again and again. 

We can get sucked in by our thoughts, grasping and clinging to them, elaborating and building imaginary worlds.  Bouncing around in our turbulence, those ruminations or speculations draw us away from the present.   

As Jon Kabat-Zinn advocates, we need to learn "to get out of this current, sit by its banks and listen to it, learn from it, and then use its energies to guide us rather than tyrannize us"2. 

The practice of mindfulness, the cultivation of our ability to be in the present, through meditation and bringing our attention to our breathing, provides us with a means to do just that. 


    1. Cacioppe, R. Leadership & Organization Development Journal 1997; 18:335-345
    1. Kabat-Zinn, J (1994) Wherever you go there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life, Hyperion, New York, p. 9
Image source: video (own) - thanks to Peter for the video idea.

    1 comment:

    1. Speaking as one currently trapped in (peri-menopausal?) turbulence, I love the image (& ur little video clip) - must focus on swimming to quieter waters & then climbing out onto the bank to watch with a smile... :~)