How The Heck Do I Start Practicing Mindfulness? And Why Do I Need to?

Wouldn’t it be great to be completely aware of our actions rather than just acting them out?

Or better still wouldn’t it be amazing if we learned to stop ourselves before we said or did something that we’ll either immediately or shortly after regret?

And if you don’t know what I’m talking about at all maybe you know about thinking about something that worries you or stresses you out to the point where you don’t feel like you’re anything else other than that feeling of worry or stress?

What about being aware of when these thoughts are coming and noticing what’s happening rather than becoming these feelings of worry, anxiety or stress and allowing them to consume us? And as you notice them using the power of mindfulness to allow those feelings to rise and fall.

Well this is where this whole idea of being Mindful and Mindfulness come in. You might think to yourself things like ‘But this is who I am’ or ‘I’m worried because of losing my job’ or ‘I’m stressed out because I’m so busy at work’ which I have and do definitely suffer from sometimes. The practice with a focus on the word ‘practice’ is noticing these things as they arise, becoming aware of them for what they are and using that sense of noticing to understand feelings for what they are and starting to process them rather than just being them.

Since I started a Meditation practice an analogy I like to compare it to that makes sense to me is starting to go to the gym when you’re really unfit. If you’ve ever been in this situation you’ll know that it could be described as torture as your body’s muscles (and you) aren’t used to it at all.

Meditation is just like that.  And it’s not just like that but even tougher I think otherwise where are all the Meditation Studios?? I mean there’s plenty of gyms around to take your money. You can take a minute and google the percentage of people who join gyms and never come back. Or I can just tell you! It’s approximately 60% The entire business is run on the basis that we find it super difficult to instill a new habit and then to maintain it. Even when we know it is good for us and will make our lives exponentially better!

So where’s all the Meditation Gyms to work the mind into something stronger and more controlled?? The answer is when you close your eyes and try to focus on one thing. Try it! See how long you can stay with your breath or anything else. If the mind has been allowed to go unchecked for 20, 30 or 40 years then that internal chatter is going to be LOUD! And trying to sit there while it plays itself out can be an uncomfortable feeling. So if gyms have a drop out rate of 60% how high do you think it would be for Meditation?

I think we think we are so much more superior to animals than we actually are. Gyms make the body stronger which makes you look good and when we are more sexually attractive this suits our ego. Meditation makes your mind stronger which makes your life good. So looking good is way more important than feeling good, clear, controlled?

Don’t get me wrong both physical health and mental health are really important. You need both.

Our brain’s are capable of so much when they are focused and when they are left to their own devices (as you might have experienced)  all hell can break loose sometimes. Negative self talk is absolutely and utterly rampant. What if we through in some Mindfulness and started to ask ourselves,

‘Is what I’m saying to myself right now helpful and/or useful to me?’

If you think about it it’s inevitable that our internal dialogue (what we’re saying to ourself inside) will only get louder and louder and louder and louder unless our inner voice start’s to say ‘why am I thinking this?’ or ‘do I need to be thinking this right now?’ or ‘is what I’m thinking right now helping or useful in any way?’

What would happen if we through this question in right after we thought something negative about ourselves or somebody else or our situation in general? What would our answers be?

This whole ‘Mindfulness’ thing is all about noticing rather than just being and in order to do this we really need to unclutter our minds. How many of the thoughts we have on a daily basis are actually useful? I mean you can only do one thing at once so no matter how many things we can think of we can only get one of them done at a time.

Living more Mindfully is a practice. We are complex creatures in a complex world that seems to be growing evermore complex. That is why I think it is so important to have some sort of a mindfulness practice. I want to live my life consciously rather than unconsciously and I want to have habits that serve me and others rather than not. I’ll make the point that it is not about achieving enlightenment or operating from a higher plain of existence. Remember the word ‘practice’. It is simply trying to becoming more aware and trying to be better than you were yesterday.

Once again thanks so much for reading and hopefully you got something out of it. Post any comments or questions that you might have.

Until next time x

‘How we spend our days is, of course, how we live our lives.’ Anne Dillard

 

 

Matt

Author Matt

I started YogaHub out of a room at the back of someone else's house back in 2012 with nothing more than an idea. I'd been teaching Yoga since 2008 and had no intention of opening a Yoga Studio. I think, like everything I've done, I just decided one day I was going to give it a try. And try I did and if you're reading this I guess I'm still trying.

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