Is your meditation practice self-taught? Have you perhaps tried Mindfulness by listening to an App or a guided meditation? If you’ve had success with that, keep going! However, I’ve come across a lot of people who struggle because they haven’t been given an understanding of the whole Mindfulness approach.
For me, the core approach is encapsulated in one sentence:
“Let’s see if I can begin to Accept whatever I’m experiencing in this moment”.
There are several important parts to this, so let me break it down to make it easier for you to put it into practice. The first is ‘Let’s see’ – this implies an open attitude, an approach of open curiosity; no expectations, let’s just see what happens.
The second piece is ‘if I can begin to’ which implies a Beginner’s mindset – we’re not looking to be expert here, or to attain perfection, we’re just giving it a go.
The third core part of the Mindful approach is around Acceptance. The idea here is to see if you can begin to accept whatever is going on for you in this moment. The moment is perhaps rarely idyllic or perfect, so we’re seeing if we can accept the imperfections, even if just for a moment. We may be stressed, or irritable or sad; we may be in physical pain or mental emotional pain – none of that means we cannot meditate or be mindful; this approach invites us to see if we can begin to accept that that is our reality in this moment. And in this moment…
That moment by moment approach is vitally important because when our head jumps ahead into the future and tries to contemplate our current reality continuing, it suddenly becomes much more difficult to accept. We get caught up in resistance, in anxiety and stress, pushing away what we don’t want. We’re not asked to accept the future – after all, it is unknown – we are merely invited to see if we can begin to accept this little moment right now, just as it is, without wishing it to be different, without resisting and pushing it away (which all takes energy and is merely fighting reality, what is).
Understanding the mindfulness approach is of huge benefit to anyone wanting to build their self-awareness, anyone struggling with difficult emotions, or mental health issues, or physical pain or discomfort; anyone who wants to be able to respond rather than get caught in reactive patterns – really anyone can benefit from practicing this approach in day to day life. When we move towards Acceptance, rather than constantly resisting, we find inner peace and calm, and we’re less disposed to want to fight everything going on around us. Let me know what you’ve found helpful from the mindfulness approach!