6 Habits of Highly Mindless People You Should Avoid

Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on UnsplashPhoto by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash

“Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.”―Ramana Maharshi

Awareness feels blissful. Any kind of happiness you feel in your heart is the direct result of your ability to be aware of life. When you truly live in the present moment, life is filled with joy.

When the plumber came to my house to fix a broken tap a few days ago, the water pressure increased significantly. My mother was quite happy about this little thing.

To my surprise, I was equally joyful. “Oh how great! the water flows so fast!” Moments after that reaction, I asked myself, “Why was I so happy about the tap being fixed?” After all, I was in no way affected by it.

That’s when I realized that I’d been feeling joy inside. It was the joy of awareness. The increased water pressure meant nothing. But the happiness of those around me was delightful.

My past self would’ve surely been too busy to even notice this change. That I reckon, is the state of most people today. They lead mindless lives.

Mindlessness is just a habit of doing the same things day in and day out. Living in a certain place, working in a certain company, meeting the same people every day, taking the same route to work, and so on.

This is not to say that we need to turn every little thing into a matter of conscious deliberation. Automating your decisions on a daily basis is a great way to focus on things that matter.

But when every aspect of your life turns into ‘autopilot’ mode, it becomes a habit. You get too comfortable, creativity is killed, and the desire to grow is gone. Unfortunately, mindlessness is a habit easily acquired. And it often takes something huge to break you out of it — say a tragic event like getting fired out of the blue, losing a loved one, etc.

The trouble with the autopilot mode is that it’s difficult to notice when you’re living it. Fortunately, you can save yourself the trouble of going through a tragic event and choose to lead a mindful life. To do that, you first need to be aware of the bad habits that you’ve built. Then, you can start to break them and bring a heightened state of awareness to your life.

They Don’t Pay Attention to Their Thoughts

Our thoughts are not our own. They are determined by our level of consciousness. Most of us assume that our thoughts define us — “I’m feeling anger which means I’m an angry person.” In reality, your thoughts are nothing but an indicator of where your consciousness lies.

Philosopher Peter Carruthers insists that conscious thought, judgment, and volition are illusions. In this regard, Paramahansa Yogananda, a liberated master explained how the creation is structured. There are three worlds — causal, astral, and physical. God, out of His pure Consciousness, first created a very subtle causal universe, made of thoughts and ideas.

From those thoughts, He created the astral universe, which is less subtle, made of energy and light. Out of that energy emerged the physical universe which we know is made of solid matter. This is not only how Creation came into existence but it’s also how everything comes into existence. Everything you do begins with a thought, followed by the energy you give it, and finally followed by the action itself.

Thought → Energy → Matter

This includes us as well. Since we’re first made as thoughts, then energy, and then matter, our thoughts are actually not ‘our own’.

Thoughts just exist. But according to our level of consciousness, we attract the kind of thought that matches our ‘vibration’. If you’re feeling tired, you’re much more likely to indulge in bad habits. On the other hand, when you feel happy, and uplifted, you’re motivated to work and achieve whatever goal you have.

What’s happening? The level of consciousness is changing. And as a result, we attract a similar thought.

One fascinating example of this is how discoveries in the scientific literature often occur at about the same time by unrelated groups. What happens is that the thought for the particular invention was already present, and more than one person attuned themselves to that thought.

Mindless people don’t pay attention to their thoughts. They let their thoughts define them. Mindful people, on the other hand, are aware of their thoughts. When an undesirable thought arises, they don’t give it energy.

A large part of being mindful is to notice your repetitive thoughts without judgment and get yourself rid of them. It’s not easy, but as your awareness deepens, it will be natural for you to question every thought you have. This way, you can literally reinvent yourself, one thought at a time.

They Judge Everything and Everyone

“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.” ― J. Krishnamurti

Mindless people judge things. Mindful people also judge things. But the **mindful ones are aware of their judgment **and control it.

You can have preferences and judgments. You can like to have coffee over tea. The problem is that most people go around life making judgments by the second being unaware of it.

When we judge everything and everyone, our reality is distorted. Our life starts to revolve around our subjective opinions and judgments rather than the objective truth.

The only cure to judgment is compassion and calm acceptance. We need to be aware of our judgment. To think, *“I judged this man on the basis of what he did. I think it’s wrong, but it’s just my subjective opinion. There’s no need to reach a conclusion. It just is,” *is the highest wisdom.

Be the observer, don’t indulge. Then accept the situation with compassion. Trust me when I say this — judgments are blockers of energy and happiness; ignore them at your own peril.

They Don’t Listen To Their Body

Mindless people are so busy going about their lives that they forget to think about their own bodies for God’s sake! An article in ATD, tells us the story of a woman named Megan and her struggle with chronic tension.

Megan had been a nurse for 20 years when she noticed that she could not just wish away the tension she was going through. After going for qigong classes in her area, “At first I was skeptical of the notion that we have subtle forms of energy that are accessible through mindful movement, but I could not argue with the deep sense of relaxation that comes after a 30-minute practice session.”

“If you wish to be happy and calm, keep the mind in the body” is a common adage among mindfulness practitioners. The founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction, Jon Kabat-Zinn, made it a requirement of his training to study yoga or qigong as mindful movement practices.

With the mind in the body, we can:

  • Regulate our responses to events, people, and situations.

  • Set up an early warning process to detect fight, flight, and freeze while making better, more conscious choices.

  • Notice muscular tension and release it within minutes.

  • Observe which areas of the body are habitually tight, tense, and need extra relaxation effort.

If our minds are not in our bodies, it’s too easy to ignore these signs that give us an opportunity to cure future ailments.

Moreover, we try to mask these pains by distracting ourselves thereby losing touch with our intuition. In other words, we become more like machines, but only a thousand times slower. By listening to our bodies, we learn to practice preemptive self-care rather than repenting later when burnout looms over our heads.

They Are Perpetually Distracted

Technology has its advantages. But most people cannot handle the distractions that come along with it. It makes boredom impossible.

You can catch up with a friend, watch a video, scroll through Instagram and send a tweet out. All under 1 minute. When we have access to such a wide range of activities to do, how can we get bored? Ergo, we fill every moment with something.

A few months ago, I realized that my mornings were one of the most mindless periods of my day. When I wondered why this was the case, I was surprised.

My mornings consist of a variety of activities (in this order)— energization exercises, journaling, meditation, exercise, and shower. After all this, I finally sat to work. On days when I had a lot of work, I would almost rush through my meditation and workout — which is completely counterintuitive to what I want!

In the morning, I worried about how I’d complete my tasks later in the day. It always seemed as if there wasn’t enough time. Yet, I had no problem chatting with friends, or watching movies after lunch.

The truth is that when we take away these “fillers” from our lives, we can find the time to focus and build our attention muscles. To truly cure your distraction habit, you should cut back and reinvest the time you otherwise lose.

Use it to do one thing at a time — if you’re eating, focus on eating. If you’re working, just work. Even if you’re watching TV, don’t check your phone every now and then. A major part of mindfulness is the ability to concentrate. The more you train your concentration, the deeper your awareness becomes.

They Wander In The Wilderness of Their Mind

Like most things in this article, mind-wandering is not bad. In fact, it’s the root of creativity. Sadly, most mind-wandering is negative and useless.

The famous study by Daniel Gilbert and Matt Killingsworth took 2,250 people for the experiment and pinged them at random times during the day. Each notification asked them several questions about their mood, happiness, environment, and the task at hand. The results were enlightening. But most of all, they reveal one important insight.

The nature of the work had a negligible impact on whether their mind wandered. Every activity (apart from making love) had a high rate of mind-wandering.

Constant mind-wandering was killing people’s happiness. You may think you like your mind to wander when you’re doing something boring like driving or folding your laundry. But it’s wrong. Because when the mind wanders, we often think of unpleasant events. Stresses, worries, anxieties, and fear rule our minds.

No matter what people were doing, they were significantly happier if they were focused on the present. Even if they’re running errands, commuting, or doing laundry.

This tells us that our happiness is in our control. It’s about our state of being rather than doing. All we have to do is make our minds wander less and be here now.

They Ignore Everyday Beauties

A few researchers once took a few participants and showed them a few dots. A thousand to be precise. All the participants had to do was sit, stare and press the button “Blue” when a blue dot flashed on the screen. If a purple dot flashes, they had to press “Not Blue.”

Now, here’s the deal with all those dots. Most of them were blue, some were purple and others were mixed shades. The researchers first showed a lot of blue dots. The participants were great at correctly identifying the color of the dots. But things started to turn around when they showed a lot fewer blue dots.

When they showed more shades of purple, the participants mistook the dots as blue, still. It’s as if they were color blinded by the whole experience.

They replaced the dots with faces of people — threatening, friendly, or neutral. Then the same process repeated itself. They showed more threatening faces at that start than in the end. Participants were getting them right.

As time went on, they showed fewer threatening faces. But the participants again mistook the friendly or neutral faces as threatening.

Simply put, our minds have a bias towards negativity. **Even if we’re having the best time of our lives, it’s easy to get upset about something as trivial as your cocktail not being cold enough. **This makes it too easy to ignore the beauty all around us.

To make it more personal, whenever we see someone being kind and generous, we immediately doubt them. We think there must be an ulterior motive behind the person’s actions or they’re trying to manipulate us.

Okay so how do we fix this? One trick, two ways. The trick is to of course pick a mindfulness training activity of your choice. It can be meditation, yoga, or anything else. Let’s say you pick meditation. The two ways are as follows:

  • Meditate in the morning as long as you can. Starting even with 10 minutes is fine.

  • Take 2 minutes every hour to meditate once again. Schedule alarms on your phone to make this happen.

The reason is simple. Doing it as a formal practice once or twice a day helps you go deeper. Doing it every hour as an informal practice helps you to bring a heightened state of awareness in everyday life. The more you do this, the more mindful you become. This helps you notice your negative bias and quit it for good.

What Does Heightened Awareness Feel Like?

It didn’t feel right to only point out your mindless habits. I also want to point out what a heightened state of awareness feels like. Although I’m not an enlightened being (not even close) I can confidently say that I’m much more aware than I was one or two years ago.

**The sensory experience is definitely enhanced. **A deeper awareness frees up more attention to the data coming through your senses. The colors are brighter and the sounds are melodious. I’m more attuned to what’s happening around me on a moment-to-moment basis.

There’s increased self-awareness and mental clarity. I’m able to see myself more objectively and notice harmful patterns in my life. It feels like being in a daily feedback loop which is one of the best ways to improve yourself.

**With that comes emotional mastery. **I’m not a *master *of my emotions per se but I’m further on the path. Emotions become more and more transient in nature. They don’t leave a trace on my consciousness as they did before.

**Your compassion muscle strengthens. **I neither like to run away from conflict nor get too involved in it. As I meditate more, I feel a greater sense of compassion for everyone. I can face every obstacle with love rather than hatred or brute-force.

Finally, there’s a sense of inner calmness that’s ever-present. It’s not that I never get upset, angry, or go through emotional roller coasters. Yet, underneath all of life’s drama, I can still find and access a sense of calmness.

Final Thoughts

If you recognize any of these habits in yourself, congratulations! You’re already more mindful. Part of being mindless is to not know your harmful tendencies.

Now that you know, you can work towards changing those habits for good. To sum up, here are the habits of highly mindless people that you should avoid to heighten your awareness:

  1. They don’t pay attention to their thoughts

  2. They judge everything

  3. They don’t listen to their body

  4. They’re perpetually distracted

  5. Their mind wanders all the time

  6. They ignore the beauties of life

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Written on March 16, 2021