In my experience engagement is about being present. It’s about noticing and being intentional in the very moment of your breathing. Whatever, wherever and however, that moment is. It’s chronically one of my greatest challenges.
Lack of engagement sucks out any feelings of peace and gratitude. Instead, I am left, perhaps in a beautiful setting, or with loving people, focused on irrelevant details, things I cannot control, or an endless list of undones and what-ifs. The physical body is the only true indicator that I am present.
In this state, the moment and people become nuisances or distractions. The gift of rapt attention I can not give or receive.
It is my experience that the condition of disengagement is an epidemic in our world. Technology has made it easier for us to create separateness of our mind and body. To physically be somewhere, either alone or with others, and disengage from the present while attending to a small handheld screen. That becomes the diversion to the present moment.
So whether you are like me and attending to inner thoughts and dialogue or engrossed in text messaging your body and mind are out of alignment. You are not mentally, emotionally, and spiritually where your physical body is.
Over time this takes a toll on you and your relationships. The behaviour sends an unconscious message (or maybe it is conscious) that the situation and people around you are not important or worthy of your engagement. “ The greatest gift we can give one another is rapt attention to one another’s existence.” Sue Atchely Ebaugh
I believe that mindfulness and engagement are connected states of being. To notice and make a conscious decision to channel my energy into the people, place, and situation before me enables me to quiet my monkey brain of competing dialogues, warnings and accusations. It ensures that I focus my attention on the present moment and detach from distractions.
In the simple act of engaging my energy in the present moment there comes a sense of appreciation and grace. It may be a fleeting moment, it’s never perfect. The distractions are persistent and stealth. If I am mindful and therefore notice, I can bring myself back to the moment. I can find the nugget of gold in the moment. And for that, I am filled with gratitude.
At least, that has been my experience.