MoHow Posted By Dr. MO Yesterday I wrote about developing mindfulness and provided 5 ideas and skills I’ve been learning, and practicing, to help me be more mindful. Today I am sharing 5 more.
If you read yesterdays post you may want to skip the introductory paragraphs and go directly to the 5 new ideas and skills. Otherwise, you may want to begin right here…
Over the past twenty-five years of my life I have focused on living more mindfully, and while I don’t always succeed, I have learned a few things that I want to share with you.
The first is a mindful life is worth the effort. It’s a life where we awaken from the trance we have unwittingly been putting our selves in, the state of having your mind anywhere but in the present moment, locked in thoughts about what you’re going to do later, about something someone else said, about something you’re stressing about or angry about. The state of mind where we’re lost in noise.
It’s worth the effort, because being awake means we’re not missing life as we walk through it. Being awake means we’re conscious of what’s going on inside us, as it happens, and so can make more conscious choices rather than acting on our impulses all the time.
The second thing I’ve learned is that we forget. We forget, over and over, to be awake. And that’s OK. Being mindful is a process of forgetting, and then remembering. Repeatedly. Just as breathing is a process of exhaling, and then inhaling, repeatedly.
The third is that mindful living isn’t just one thing. It’s not just meditation. Nor is it just focusing on the sensations around you, right now in this moment. I’ve found mindful living to be a range of different ways of getting at the same thing, with each way useful in its own way.
Here’s a big question for you to ask yourself….
Why bother to spend the time learning how to be more mindful? What’s the purpose? Is it just for some ideal of living a peaceful, stress-free life?
And here’s my answer…
No. A stress-free life doesn’t exist, but with these different ways of living you will be more able to deal with the stresses that will inevitably come your way. And, you will be more capable of overcoming the fear of failure and fear of discomfort that’s holding you back, that’s keeping you from making positive changes in your life.
Mindfulness will help you improve your relationships, start a business, write a book, create music, find your purpose in life, become the person you’ve always wanted to be.
Yesterday I posted a list of 5 ideas and skills I’ve been learning, and practicing, to help me be more mindful. Today I am sharing 5 more.
1. Watch your resistance. When you try to do something uncomfortable, or try to give up something you like or are used to, you’ll find resistance. Just watch the resistance, and be curious about it. Watch your resistance to things that annoy you, a loud sound that interrupts your concentration, for example. It’s not the sound that’s the problem, it’s your thinking about the sound. The same is true of resistance to food we don’t like, to being too cold or hot, to being hungry. The problem isn’t the sensation of the food, cold, heat or hunger, it’s what you think about them. Watch the resistance, and feel it melt.
2. Be positively open minded. Too often we are stuck in our ways, and think we know how things should be, how people are. Instead, be open minded. Let go of your negative thinking. When you start a new project or venture, if you fear failure, instead of thinking, “Oh no, I’m going to fail” or “Oh no, I don’t know how this will turn out”, think, “Let’s see. Let’s find out.” And then there isn’t the fear of failure, there’s the excitement of adventure. Learn to be open to not knowing.
3. Be grateful. Find something to be grateful about in everything you do. Be grateful when you’re creating a new habit, and you’ll stick to it longer. Be grateful when you’re with someone, and you’ll be happier with them. Life is amazing, when you learn to appreciate it more fully.
4. Let go of control. We often think we control things, but that’s only an illusion. Our obsession with organization and goals and productivity, for example, are rooted in the illusion that we can control life. Life is uncontrollable, and just when we think we have things under control, something unexpected comes up to disrupt everything. And then we’re frustrated because things didn’t go the way we wanted. Instead, practice acceptance and learn to flow.
5. Be compassionate. Compassion for yourself and others will change the way you feel about the world, on a day-to-day basis. These two things need remembering, though, so mindful living is about remembering to be compassionate after you forget.
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