I have been practicing mindfulness for a minimum of five minutes a day for the past twenty years. Talk about a return on investment!! I knew this stuff works when I walked out the other day and noticed my car had been stolen.
I didn’t panic or become overwhelmed. I took care of what I needed to care of without a lot of story.
I am a total believer in mindfulness. It is a must for me. I hold it like brushing and flossing my teeth. It is not a choice unless I want to experience a huge cost and pain later in life.
When I practice mindfulness I am not trying to quiet my mind. Nor am I trying to create some magical experience.
My intention in my practice is three pronged. First I want to develop my observer. I am developing an observer that has the capacity to clearly see things as they are and not react. I am also conscious to my observations to be self aware of my thinking. It is kind of like watching a movie, except the screen is in my head.
The other thing I am developing on my mindfulness practice is kindness to myself and others. My mind is going to think. In the words of my friend Carrie Shore, to think otherwise is “crazy talk.” One of the primary jobs of the mind is to think. It is give things meaning so that it can be safe. The problem is the stuff we think is usually not so kind. We usually are judging, planning, worrying, desiring or complaining. In my mindfulness practice I send myself, the people I care about and the people who challenge me loving kindness.
I say to myself “May I be happy so I can spread happiness.”
“May I be peaceful so I can spread peace”
“May I be filled with love so I can spread love/”
To the people I love and to the people who challenge me I say
“May you be happy.”
“May you be peaceful.”
"May you be filled with love.”
The way I figure these thought are way more useful than what I usually am randomly thinking. They also feel a whole lot better than my complaining.
The third thing I am developing is my capacity to be in the space between my thoughts. Can I see the space in between my thoughts and allow it to grow. To me it is the space in between the thoughts where magic can happen. Instead of being in my personal thinking, I can open up to the space in between my personal thinking and let wisdom come to me. This space allows different perspectives to come in. To me it is the space in between thinking that allows me to come up with new ideas and solutions to problems.
Five minutes of this, calms me down for the entire day. It reduces my stress level. I have found that it is not the event that stresses me the most. Rather, it is the thinking of the event. It is wanting the event to be different than it is. I realize that I don’t get grabbed by much these days.
So I can’t say enough about mindfulness. Below is the structure of my practice. If you have questions about mindfulness please feel free to call me at 510-919-2254 or email me at email@example.com
Steps to practice meditation:
- Center. ( See practice below.)
- Bring attention to your heart.
2a. Say, “May I be happy so that I can spread happiness. May I be peaceful so that I can spread peace. May I feel love so that I can spread love.”
- Think of someone you care about and send them happiness, peace, and love.
- Bring attention to your breath. Feel your body and breath, which brings you to the Present. When you notice you are thinking. Notice the thought and come back to your breath.
- Repeat the practice from Step 2.