Most of us must go to work every day and perform repetitive tasks that are rarely of our choosing. And when these unwanted routines run — as they do — it isn’t long before our growing resistance to them leaves us feeling weary, if not burned out! Even if we’re lucky enough to make a living doing what we wish, what feels good one moment can become a grind the next; we all know the drill whenever we start feeling stuck. Resistance to our situation swells in us like a cresting wave, and moments later we’re carried into a world without gratitude, enthusiasm, or hope. Now add to this sad scenario the fact that this resistance itself becomes a part of our routine, and it’s easy to see why we often feel as if we’re stuck in a rut!
The first step to releasing ourselves from any sense of being in a rut begins with seeing this truth: The real nature of what we call our “daily grind” is really just our own mind telling itself, over and over again, how much it wishes things would change. If life seems like a grind, it’s only because we’re following around the same level of thinking that makes it so. Blaming outside circumstances for trapping us in a rut is like blaming the television for the boredom we feel while sitting watching nothing but reruns. It’s time to break our ties with anything in us that would rather complain about its situation than go to work to change it.
The first step to breaking out of any rut in life is to no longer enable the parts of us that keep walking in them while wishing they weren’t so deep! Learning to watch our own thoughts and feelings — to be quietly attentive to what the mind is attending to in each moment — ensures that we won’t fall into these ditches, because our heightened level of attention keeps them from being dug!
For encouragement along the way, just notice how, each time you bring your attention into the present moment, it’s you who gets the gift of being made new. That’s the way it works. See how many times you can catch yourself just as you’re about to go on the “ride” of not wanting to be where you are — of not wanting to do what you must. Then deliberately step out of that long line of repetitive thoughts and feelings. Take your attention off what you don’t want, and bring it into the new moment — as it is.
This new and higher level of attention connects you to the present moment, the living now. The interior task of working to remain attentive in this way grants you entrance into a world free of routine, without ruts of any kind — because no one has ever been there before you.