Image shows a cartoon of a monk smiling, wearing orange robes, holding a bowl sitting cross-legged on the grass, he is holding a bowl and next to him is a cat. Caption reads: Enjoy the little things. Picture by Molly at Buddha Doodles
I feel like a lot of this blog has become focused on the theory of mindfulness and that means I haven’t talked so much about mindfulness in a more practical way. This is partly because reading informs a lot of my practice and I want to share what I learn in the hope that it will be useful to other people. I have been keeping up a daily meditation practice and while I don’t feel I have become particularly skilled at meditation, I do feel like it is having a positive effect on my life outside of practice, so I thought I would share with you some of the ways that I have noticed this.
The first example would be being able to respond rather than reacting so that in a discussion, things are able to stay a lot calmer and not escalate into situations that become a lot more difficult to deal with.
The second area where I have noticed changes is when it comes to dealing with rejection, I’m applying for a lot of things at the moment and that inevitably leads to a fair amount of rejection. in the past, I have really let situations like this get to me and not dealt with them very well. Mindfulness has been helping me turn that situation around and help me see the positives within the situation. I found this article really helpful, but the number one thing I am trying to remember about getting rejected is that it means you’re putting yourself out there and doing something.
I used to be very susceptible to being dragged down by my own negative thought processes about what I could have done better or how things could have been different. Now I find it a lot easier to see it all as a learning process and just keep going. This is not to say that I don’t get dragged into conversations with my inner critic at times, but I am a lot better at metaphorically walking away if that makes sense.
My third observation is related to mindful eating but is a bit more specific than that, lately, whenever I have been having a little treat, be that a chocolate bar or a favourite drink I have been remembering to pay attention to all the reasons why I love it. This has 2 advantages in that I get more enjoyment out of it and I’m less likely to over indulge because I am paying attention properly. This is particularly useful when you have a sweet tooth like I do.
I think this shows (to me at least) that even when I feel that meditation isn’t going well, commitment to the practice can still make a difference, just maybe not in the ways I first expected.