Mindfulness And Day to Day Life

Worth reading from off the web!

Serenity
Serenity

When we hear about the importance of being in the present moment, the “now”, and hear that it is the only truth, newbies can feel quite inadequate!

This makes a great deal of sense to me. Oftentimes, I find myself distracted by thought about the future. Or, I replay past experiences in my mind, often unproductively.Being in the moment frees us to experience life more fully, which is a good thing. But might this edict have a shadow side? Like any rule or declaration, it has limitations and is prone to misunderstanding.

Discursive thinking — going around in circles with our thoughts — does not get us far. We often haphazardly stray from one thought to another; the chain of association may keep us spinning our wheels without gaining traction.

Self-critical thoughts are also common ways that we stray from the present moment. We may be operating from core beliefs that we’re not good enough, smart enough, or attractive enough. We may notice self-talk such as, “What’s wrong with me?” or “That comment was dumb,” or “When will I ever find a good relationship?”

Meditation and mindfulness practices may offers instructions to simply notice our thoughts. The practice of “mental noting,” perhaps saying quietly to ourselves, “thinking, thinking,” may guide our attention away from unhelpful thoughts and back to the breath, our body, and the present moment.

Rather than being plagued by self-critical thoughts, we might labor under a pall of shame — a sense of feeling defective or unworthy. Unhealed shame keeps us lost in a haze, preventing us from being present with people and life.

Honoring Our Thoughts and Feelings

Being distracted by our thoughts doesn’t mean they’re always unproductive. There may be times when we need to think something through — perhaps a business decision, retirement planning, or how to communicate our feelings and desires to our partner. Meditation teacher Jason Siff offers this refreshing take on meditation:

I see clinging to experiences and elaborating on them, or thinking about them, as being quite natural and nothing to be alarmed about. . . . I have heard many reports of meditation sittings where someone has written an article, composed a piece of music, planned an art project, or redecorated her house, and it was actually very productive and efficient to be doing this in meditation.

Sometimes we need to allow some spaciousness around our feelings so that they have a chance to settle. Rather than hurl an angry or blaming remark and thinking we are living in the moment, we benefit from reflecting on our deeper, truer feelings. There may be sadness, fear, or shame beneath our initial anger. Can we allow ourselves to be in the moment in a way where we allow our deeper feelings to emerge? Noticing and sharing our authentic feelings connects us with ourselves in a way that can connect more intimately with others.

Spiritually-inclined people often overlook the importance of being with feelings that are arising in the moment. If we think that being in the moment means regarding feelings as distractions, then we’re no longer in the moment. Trying to be somewhere we’re not takes us away from the moment. Mindfulness is the practice of being present with what is, not trying to be in a different moment.

For some people, the edict to be in the present moment may be a subtle way to avoid uncomfortable feelings. As soon as an unpleasant emotion arises, they may try to yank their attention back to their breath in an attempt to be in the moment. But then they never get to the root of their feelings, which will keep recurring.

Just as a hurting child will clamor for attention until heard, our feelings need attention. When welcomed and listened to in a gentle, caring way, they tend to pass. We are then freed to be in a new moment, now freed of the subtle pull of unattended and troubling emotions.

“Being in the moment” can be a helpful reminder if we understand it in a more expansive way. It can remind us to be more mindful of wherever we happen to be. When emotions, thoughts, or desires are arising within, we can notice them, be gentle with them, and allow them to be just as they are. We live with more inner peace as we make room for the full range of our human experience.

What do you think?🤔

EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT MINFULNESS…

… but we’re afraid to ask

TaoMindfulness

So what’s the big hoopla about “Mindfulness”??

In its simplest form, it’s nothing more than focused-attention on the here and NOW — Using information from our senses: What we see, hear, feel, taste, and smell.

But in the fields of mental health, it can be tweaked to reduce anxiety, depression, and PTSD to name a few. Below you will find several brief definitions. Hopefully this will give you a better feel of the otherwise vague term, MINDFULNESS.
(What is Mindfulness? Explained. (20 Definitions That Clarify Mindfulness)

Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley:

“Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.”

Daniel J. Siege, Mindfulness practitioner and expert:

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“Mindfulness in its most general sense is about waking up from a life on automatic, and being sensitive to novelty in our everyday experiences.  With mindful awareness the flow of energy and information (that is our mind) enters our conscious attention and we can come to regulate its flow in a new way.  Mindful awareness, as we will see, actually involves more than just simply being aware: It involves being aware of aspects of the mind itself.“

Sharon Salzberg, another leader in mindfulness, says:

“Instead of being on automatic and mindless, mindfulness helps us by reflecting on the mind’s activities which enables us to make different choices.

It’s about doing so in a certain way – with balance and equanimity, and without judgment. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention in a way that creates space for insight.”

Research has shown that mindfulness helps us reduce anxiety and depression. Mindfulness teaches us how to respond to stress with awareness of what is happening in the present moment rather than simply acting instinctively, unaware of what emotions or motivations are working in the background, driving our decisions. By teaching awareness for one’s physical and mental state in the moment, mindfulness allows for more adaptive reactions to difficult situations.

Anxiety.org asks, Can Mindfulness Really Help Reduce Anxiety?

“A mindful person is reflective rather than reactive. They focus on the present moment.

Mindfulness is a process that leads to a mental state characterized by nonjudgmental awareness of the present experiences, such as sensations, thoughts, bodily states, and the environment. It enables us to distance ourselves from our thoughts and feelings without labeling them as good or bad.”

How Does Mindfulness Work?

By focusing our attention on the present moment, mindfulness counteracts rumination and worrying. Worrying about the future (e.g. I better remember to pay those bills and clean my house this weekend) and ruminating about the past (e.g., I should have done this rather than that) are generally maladaptive thinking processes. Of course, it is important to learn from our past and plan ahead for the future; however, when we spend too much time outside of the present moment, we can get depressed and anxious. In such cases, mindfulness can be an important tool for helping us to better focus on the present moment.

Mindfulness works through a number of ways. It encourages us to open up and accept our emotions. As a result we are better able to identify, experience, and process our emotions. Mindfulness also encourages us to see things from different perspectives. For example, if your spouse snaps at you, you might blame yourself and worry that you’ve done something to upset them. If you are able to distance yourself from your immediate response of being hurt, you might remember that your spouse mentioned a hard day at work, and perhaps they snapped at you because they’re tired and stressed out. The point is, we are actually lousy mind-readers! But here’s a piece of wisdom I’d like to share — Most people respond or act from a place that speaks more about them than you… This new interpretation could alleviate some of your worry and negative feelings.

The practice of mindfulness has been shown to benefit in multiple ways:

Body awareness: Body awareness is the ability to notice subtle sensations in the body and self-report findings indicate that mindfulness leads to greater perceptions of body awareness. Being aware of your internal emotional state is necessary to being able to better regulate those emotions.

Focused attention: Mindfulness practice improves one’s ability to focus attentionon a present task rather than being distracted by worry. Neuroimaging studies have shown that mindfulness increases activation of the brain involved in attention, executive functioning and emotional self-regulation skills. These skills depend on three sub skills: working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control. These functions are highly interrelated, and the successful application of executive function skills requires them to operate in coordination with each other.

Self-perception: Mindfulness also changes one’s perspective of self. Buddhist psychology teaches that the self is not permanent and static, but rather made up of ongoing mental events. Two months of mindfulness meditation practices have been shown to increase self-esteem and self-acceptance.

Physical health: Mindfulness meditation has also been shown to produce other health benefits, such as reduced blood pressure and cortisol levels (a stress hormone).

Mindfulness in Practice

There is no big secret behind mindfulness practices. Any activity can become mindful by focusing on the experience of the present moment. For example, you can either mindlessly gobble down your meal or take a little bit of time and practice mindful eating by looking at the food, smelling the food, noticing the different flavors and the texture of the food while slowly eating it. Not surprisingly, it is much more enjoyable and satisfying when you eat mindfully than when you eat mindlessly. Interestingly, you will also notice that you will consume less when you start eating mindfully.

There are many practices that include mindfulness trainings, such as tai chi, yoga, and zen. There are many styles for each of these activities, so it is worthwhile to experiment with different practices until you find one that suits you. As you become more mindful, you will also notice that you will become more centered, happier, and less depressed and this in turn has a direct positive effect on your anxiety.

How to be Mindful Right Now

Focus on your breath for a few minutes. Feel your chest rise and fall, notice the sensation of the breath as it enters and exits your nose. When your mind wanders, simply return your attention to the breath. Focus on the present moment: the here and now. Notice this very moment; it feels good to be alive, right now.

If you don’t immediately feel a complete release of anxiety, remember: most of the benefits of mindfulness require consistent practice. While some changes bolster against anxiety even after one single yoga class, most benefits require practice.  And, like any skill, you will need to continue to practice mindfulness after you start to maintain the improvements.

 

Although more research is needed to illuminate the mechanisms at work, it’s clear that mindfulness allows us to interrupt automatic, reflexive fight, flight, or freeze reactions—reactions that can lead to anxiety, fear, foreboding, and worry.

By bringing mindfulness to our actual experience in the moment, we can increase the likelihood of exerting more conscious control over our behaviors and attitudes. In so doing we learn to work with our intention, wise effort, will, discipline, and capacity to be kind to ourselves. These are all resources that can be harnessed and cultivated.

Beginner’s mind is an aspect of mind that’s open to seeing from a fresh perspective. Meeting anxiety in this way, with curiosity, can play an extremely important role in transforming your experience. When you’re willing to adopt another point of view, new possibilities arise, and this can help you challenge habitual anxious thoughts and feelings.

You can acknowledge that anxiety is present and how much you don’t like it, even as you apply patience and see anxiety as your current weather system, knowing it will pass.

Nonjudgment means experiencing the present moment without the filters of evaluation. In the midst of anxiety, it can be all too easy to experience a secondary layer of judgment on top of the already uncomfortable anxious feelings. Stepping out of a judgmental mind-set allows you to see more clearly. When you let go of evaluations, many sources of anxiety simply fade away. When you feel anxiety, adopting a nonjudgmental stance can reset your mind into a more balanced state.

Nonstriving is the quality of being willing to meet any experience as it is, without trying to change it. With nonstriving, you understand the importance of being with things as they are—being with your experience without clinging to or rejecting what’s there. (Note that nonstriving relates to your present-moment experiences during meditation and doesn’t in any way negate the value of setting a wise intention to grow, learn, and change your relationship to anxiety.)
In the midst of strong anxiety, the first response is often to flee or get out of the situation. If you can pause and really be with your experience without exerting any force against it, you gain the opportunity to know your experience more clearly and choose your response. You can also become less fearful of the physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions that accompany anxiety.

Excerpts from:
10 Mindful Attitudes That Decrease Anxiety

How to Eliminate Suffering

img_0914You can eliminate war for one human being — You!

Worth reading – from Off the Web! (edited for readability)

Byron Katie is known world wide for her wisdom about ending human suffering. She says,

“Hurt feelings or discomfort of any kind cannot be caused by another person. No one outside me can hurt me. That’s not a possibility.”

That’s a bold statement. Many of us react instantaneously to such (seemingly) outrageous claims.

Someone asked Katie:

  • What’s the best way for someone who has suffered – such as a child who was beaten or a person who was raped – to make sense of this philosophy?

Katie replied, “Identify and question what they were believing in that cruel situation as it was happening.”

When children (or adults, for that matter) believe the thoughts they are thinking during and after a painful event, they suffer.

It is not the painful event that causes their suffering once the event is over; it is their thoughts about the event.  

The event is in the past; the thoughts , and resulting feelings, are in the present – thoughts of shame, anger, humiliation, depression, unworthiness, resentment, and so on – yet it is only in the present that we live.

Children have no way to question these thoughts, so they can’t help but suffer over them. It’s not their fault that they suffer. They just don’t know that suffering comes from believing their painful thoughts. This is why without inquiry, it’s so difficult to overcome a trauma.

The things that upset us will stay with us as long as we still believe what we were believing in that situation.  Whether in childhood, or yesterday – time doesn’t matter. Inquiry can break the spell.


The Work is not a philosophy. It’s a way that will let you discover that all suffering has been a misunderstanding
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  • Should a person ignore or glide over such things?

Katie replied,

I was never able to do that. The way I became free was by not ignoring or gliding over such things. I had to face them, to look back on those terrible and seemingly unjust situations that I suffered as a child, and as an adult, to write them down and question the thoughts I had at the time. I had to travel back and to see in my mind’s eye that situation, no matter how terrible it was, and to fill in a ‘Judge-Your-Neighbor’ Worksheet. I had to fill out one Worksheet for each situation. I do this by remembering as much as possible of what I was seeing, feeling, thinking, and believing in those moments.

I used to suffer when those images would arise in my mind, and now I don’t. In fact, all those old memories bring a sense of compassion, freedom and gratitude, and never suffering.”

Of course you should suffer when you remember those situations –  since you are believing your thoughts.
Our children learn fearful and angry beliefs from us, and they, like us, have no choice but to live what they believe. What are we teaching through our own negative, fearful beliefs?

She continues,

My job is to end the injustice in my world, the war inside me, and that has made the world a better place, since there is one less violent, angry person in the world now.

If I am at war with reality, I’m continuing in myself the very thing that I want to end in the world. A sane mind doesn’t suffer. Through inquiry, you can begin to eliminate war for one human being: you.

For more information on The Work of Byron Katie, go to TheWork.com

Freedom is One Question Away…

If it’s true that the brain creates 3 thousand thoughts per minute, doesn’t it make sense that many of them aren’t even true?

Write one down. Take a break. Come back to it later and ask yourself, “Is it true?” Wait for the answer.

You may break out into a Big Smile… you might even laugh.

Experience the instant freedom!

Here are some examples:

* She’s hates me, so I must be a bad person.*

She hates me.

Is it true?

No. She seems upset, but it’s unlikely that she hates me.

I’m a bad person.

Is it true?

No. I have a lot of great qualities. I’m not perfect though. I’m ok with that, so, no. I am not a bad person”.

* I can’t get through this — this is killing me *

This is killing me.

Is it true?

It’s not true – this is uncomfortable but I won’t die.