Mindfulness. It’s a pretty popular word these days, and it’s being thrown around from yoga classes to corporate seminars, even workshops from colleges to prison.
From what I understand, mindfulness is an awareness of your feelings, accepting them without judgement. Just observing or noticing the thoughts as they come up, then letting them pass. We focus on the present moment, calmly and without evaluation or decision. Meditation is a great way to practice mindfulness. For many, meditation is a quiet sitting for a few minutes, just returning to your breathing. Meditation reinforces moment to moment mindfulness.
The thing is, while you’re meditating, the whole “returning to your breathing” thing happens multiple times in a minute. While you’re sitting, it is entirely normal to have your thoughts run six ways to Sunday, slamming into on another like twenty car pileup. It’s just the way our brains work. Focusing again and again on your breathing is what you do when you realize your thoughts are moving around your mind. Some use a mantra to help them focus, others don’t.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the time to put aside to just sit and breath, given that we’re working fifty hours a week then coming home and heading right for the kids, the dishes, homework, and opening today’s mail.
Then I saw a video by a Buddhist monk named Mingyur Rimpoche (note to yourself: the word Rimpoche means “highly respected master”) who said, “we can mediate anytime, everywhere. Even three seconds, two seconds, while you’re walking, while you’re having coffee or tea.” He said that many people have a misunderstanding of meditation, that we have to clear out our thoughts and focus which results, as he said, in a person “push(ing) too much.”
Instead, he said only only need to “watch the breath.” It just takes our thoughts off what he calls our “monkey mind” and instead places it on our breathing.
I like the word “watch.” Most of the time, you don’t hear “watch;” instead, you hear “focus.”
Everybody can “watch” their thoughts. “Focus” implies concentrated effort. Change one word and the act becomes a little more accessible.
Mindfulness is the action behind meditation or, rather, meditation is just a moment by moment act of mindfulness, extended over several minutes.
Meditation is really helpful to engage mindfulness on a regular basis. I’ve read that every time you come back to your breathing while sitting, “it’s like a bicep curl for your brain,” making your mindfulness easier to access.
The biggest part of this, however, is not judging your thoughts. You can sit for hours and if your thoughts are “god, your such a jerk” every thirteen seconds-which, let’s face it, they sometimes are-make sure you just “watch” these thoughts like they are passing by like a parade of quickly moving clouds in the sky.
Mindfulness is watching without judgement. And you can literally look at the thought in one second, give it notice, and let it pass. No evaluation. Just notice. Just watch. We don’t evaluate the cars on the freeway, the color of the trees, the wind in your face. They just are. We watch them, and we let them pass.
This is all I’m asking. Watch, without judgement, and go back and gently do it again.
Enjoy this process, and enjoy the calm that comes with it.
By entrusting us with your feelings, we help you take steps that you see necessary to begin and put forth the energy to make the needed change.
Now notice something: Trust in a coach, mentor, or guide helps you see what's in front of you. We see a Coach for Your Heart a little like an emotional Sherpa, somebody that helps you climb your mountain by pointing out where to best step along the path.
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