So this week hasn’t gone as I thought or as I hoped it would. And yes I personally am scared even though I don’t live in America, as someone who is part of a minority I was never going to be happy with this result. It has reminded me how important it is to focus on the present.
I could be spending my time worrying about what could happen next and speculating on how bad it could get. Or I could acknowledge my fear, but use my effort to focus on what I can do now.
In no way am I saying that people should ‘just move on’ I think everyone has the right to feel whatever they need to feel about what has happened. What I am saying is that mindfulness might be a tool that we can all use to help us get through this.
Today is also world kindness day so while we figure out what we are going to do next the one thing we can definitely do is be kind to ourselves and each other.
If you want to give Loving Kindness Meditation a try visit my Be Kind post.
Take care everyone.
When it comes to meditation and mindfulness I have often Been encouraged to watch the mind like TV. for some reason I haven’t found this helpful because I tend to get this image in my mind of a blank TV screen, you might think that this is a good thing as when I’m meditating it’s supposed to be about clearing my mind but instead I’m frustrated because to me I’m not doing the exercise in the right way.
As a slight twist on this exercise and a way to try and note when I am getting lost in thought, I have started trying to use the image of slides in a projector like this one.
That way, when I realise I have been distracted I can visualise taking that particular thought out of my ‘mental projector’ and put something different in. It helps me come back to what I’m doing or move away from unhelpful thoughts. It’s a more elaborate version of the noting practice that I have been doing as part of my meditation in the last couple of days.
The noting technique is one of my favourite techniques. You simply note whether you have been distracted by either thinking or feeling/sensation and then go back to the breath. One of the reasons I like it is because it is really easy to use in every day life as well as in practice. Whenever I notice I have been distracted I just note it and come back to what I’m doing. The more often you can note, the more present you will be. It’s a really easy way to make mindfulness a bigger part of your day.
Image shows cartoon of a man with a red open shirt and grey shirt standing slightly away from a set of hooks on a wall his eyes are closed and he is smiling. Caption reads: Let yourself off the hook. Picture by Molly Hahn at Buddha Doodles.
One of the things that I have learnt through mindfulness is that it is not necessarily how you feel about something that causes the problem, but the story that you build around it that causes you to feel worse.
The best example I can give of this is when I get caught in the rain, sure getting rained on isn’t great, but it’s the extra layer of me thinking ‘this is horrible’ ‘this sucks’ that makes it worse and spins the situation into something so much bigger in my head. Especially if I then add another layer of resistance by telling myself that I shouldn’t think negatively. It’s easy to see how a small inconvenience can become a big deal if you overthink it.
It’s the same with being irritated, if you can manage to acknowledge it and step back then great, but sometimes you can be in the middle of the story before you realise it. This is another situation where awareness can help, by not creating more resistance, by at least being aware enough not to become irritated about being irritated.
This can also sometimes be applied to discomfort in the body, the more I can sit with an ache or pain and be aware of it rather than creating a story around how bad it is the less it will bug me. I don’t suffer with that much pain though so I don’t feel I can say as much from experience.
In my experience the more I can be aware of the layers of story that less likely I am to get dragged away by them.