The Imperfect Jug (On mindful doing)

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article looks at how we can use mindfulness not just to ‘be’, but also when we are doing, and use mindfulness to do things a little bit better.
Last chance to catch Integral Mindfulness On line Course starting on Feb 4th  at a discounted rate, at the end of Friday 29th January it will go up to its full price.
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In the spirit of the imperfect jug,


The Imperfect Jug (On mindful doing)

I have a glass jug in my kitchen that I use to pour my water. Technically it is a flawed jug in the sense that, if you try and pour the water out beyond a certain speed it drips water onto the table. Furthermore if you don’t pour it fast enough it also drips. So when I am pouring I have to really pay attention and do it at just the right speed so that it pours cleanly without spilling.
Initially I found this jug really annoying, particularly when I am in a hurry. But then I realized that it’s actually showing me something. When I am in a hurry I try and pour too fast, which then means I have to wipe up the water from the dripping, which takes up more time and effort than if I’d just poured more slowly. So, in order to get a ‘clean pour’ so to speak, I have to slow down a little, relax, focus and pour not too fast, not to slow.
This has now become a symbol or metaphor for me regarding how I mindfully work and do things in general:

  • If I try and work too fast I start to make mistakes, which I then have to correct, which takes more time than if I had slowed down a little and not made the mistake.
  • Similarly if I work too slow, I lose my rhythm and focus, which means I waste time getting distracted or do something sloppily that then have to re-do.

So to me mindful doing in my daily life is like pouring water from the jug; not too fast, not to slow. I try and hit an optimal pace where I am getting things done, but not going so fast that I make unnecessary mistakes.

What is your optimal pace in the different activities you do in your day? It can be a worthwhile mindfulness practice asking yourself this question, and then trying to optimize the momentum with which you do things in your life.

Make your mindful doing like pouring of the imperfect jug; not too fast, not too slow!

© Toby Ouvry 2016, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

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