6 mindfulness tips for meditating–and daily living
Back when I first started doing mindfulness-based corporate stress buster workshops for maxed out 9 to 5ers, I thought I’d come up with something truly unique and revolutionary. It’s always nice when the universe conspires to keep your ego in check. Though what I taught was fresh and new for the people who attended, I’ve learned since then that teachers from a range of modalities–from Tantric and Vedic to Buddhism and a mash-up of everything under the sun–have all taught, and continue to teach, the same tools. We all have our own way of delivering them, but their essence is the same.
For me, this was a maha (major) confirmation of their effectiveness and power.
Here are six mindfulness tips under one vital category that apply on the mat, when your intention is to meditate, and off the mat, when your intention is to live mindfully–in other words, to live the life that’s happening right here, right now.
WORKING WITH YOUR MIND AND YOUR THOUGHTS
Before I launch into these, I feel it’s important to state my position on the mind. I don’t align myself with teachings that present the mind as malicious or wild. I believe the mind is simply trying to do the best job it can. I believe that meeting our mind and our thoughts with loving-kindness and acceptance is far more effective than meeting our mind and thoughts with the suspicion and distrust that can arise when we’re taught it’s malicious or wild.
1. Planning. Label the planning thoughts–those that take us into the foreseeable future where we live it out as though it’s happening right now.
2. Fantasizing. Label the fantasies–the thoughts that take us into an imagined future or re-worked past.
3. Rehashing. Label the rehashing–the thoughts that run through our head over and over again, replaying something that’s already happened.
4. Worrying. Label the worrying–the concern about something that happened in the past or that might happen in the future.
5. Notice patterns. Once we begin to label these thoughts, we begin to notice our patterns. This is my favourite revelation. Ah ha! I’m doing a lot of planning today–now I can be more aware of this and find it easier to not get caught up in it.
6. Let them go. This practice isn’t about control, it’s about letting go. We’re not aiming to control our thoughts, we simply want to meet them with loving kindness, label and see them for what they really are, and send them on their way.
Bonus: When we practice mindfulness, and labelling and letting go of our thoughts, we discover the space between our essential, peaceful and powerful selves and the thoughts that ripple across our surface. We begin to become our essential selves, rather than our thoughts.