Do it like the monks!

No, it was not a reading mistake, that is just what I said.

Mindfulness is truly an IN-word at the moment, as it is becoming wide-spread here in the west. But, mindfulness is not a new technique or invention. It is as old as our mind, and mindfulness can be experienced in so many ways. It can be practiced in so many ways.

Anything that makes you feel the present more than regrets or worries about tomorrow, can be considered mindfulness, and whether you feel the present through playing with your children, looking at nature as you take a walk, knit or listen to music, it is all the same.

Sometimes, though, it an be helpful to learn ways to calm down the mind enough, so that you can start enjoying the moment without that constant chatter.

The buddhist monks have been practicing mindfulness for centuries, and one way the Zen buddhists practice their attention on the now, is this way:

– Find a few labels for your chatter. For instance, I choose “listen” when I hear sounds that might disturb me and i get hung up on the. I use “remember” when things from the past (remember, everything before this moment is the past) keep popping up, “reflecting” when I am thinking about the future or reflect on things to be.

– Use labels that you find easy to remember, and that your are comfortable with. It does not have to be fancy, they are just tools

– Try to sit or walk or lie peacefully. Focus solely on your breath. Your mind WILL protest. It is not used to slowing down. DO NOT try to stop it, but try to pay attention.

– Sometimes, especially in the beginning, the mind will wonder and we will not even notice immediately, because that is what we are USED TO! But, once you DO notice, put a label on what it going on (for instance, you start to think about work tomorrow: “reflecting”). Then go back to your breath.

– Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

– With time and practice, the mind will start to learn that it can actually slow down and be in the present more, and you will notice that you can use your labels less. it will, with time, feel like a more peaceful, present time all by yourself:)

MY EXPERIENCE is that when life is rough, as humans, we tend to try to resist the difficult emotions. I have not had any luck with that so far. Anyone who has?

Or, we try to think POSITIVE. It has not worked for me either, and let me tell you why: when I am in a state of emotions that are difficult for me, it is because I am filled with a lot of different thoughts that trigger either my view of the world, myself or my ability to solve or deal with the state that I am in. If I try to replace those emotions with some that are supposed to be more positive, there will be a huge gap between what I truly believe here and now, and what I am trying to believe by thinking positively. This gap between realities, the discrepancy, creates a resistance inside us, leading us to a state of pressure between what is and what we try to be, where we can feel really stuck and not progress.

BE NICE TO YOURSELF AND SEND ALL THE EMPATHY YOU CAN to yourself and the current emotions you are in. It sounds like giving into the situation, but actually, it is NOT.

On the contrary, you accept that this is the way you feel right now, you give yourself empathy, but you also accept that this is a state of mind that will not last forever. When I am capable of this, I CAN SLOWLY FEEL the INTENSiTY OF THE EMOTIONS LOWERING. 

The reduced pressure of the emotions make it possible to bring in some other thoughts, to balance out the who overview of the situation.

BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF! Thee things will take time!

BE NICE TO YOUSELF! Your wellbeing depends on it!

DARE TO  APPRECIATE THE WONDERFUL THINGS! Those are the things that keep you going.

Who is willing to give this attention training a try?

Hands up!

S

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