The purpose of training our body at the gym is not to become better at training at the gym. No, we train so we can live a better, more fulfilling life outside of that space of bright lights and soulless pop music.
Similarly, the reason for meditating is not just to get better at being present during the daily 10 minutes of practise. The reason we do it is to have the benefits of the practise spill into the rest of our day.
The positive effect meditating can have to those roughly thousand minutes we spend awake each day is stronger than anything else we could learn. It gives us the power to set the tone for each moment and each interaction we’ll have.
Noticing a mood being present without letting it consume us. Instead of dwelling in a negative feeling for hours, or even days, we can acknowledge it being present and then do the hard part of letting it go. This will have a direct effect on the quality of our life.
Noticing the feelings of anger arising before reacting. That split second we spend noticing between feeling anger and reacting to it can’t be overestimated.
Noticing a cycle of thought keeping us in it’s grip. And being able to let go of it. Seeing it as a passing cloud instead of it being a part of us. With diligent practise of meditation all this can be untangled in matter of seconds.
We have the power to notice thoughts arising. To be curious about them without dwelling. To observe them with interest instead of making them part of us.
It won’t always be perfect. It won’t always happen in seconds. But the more we practise, the quicker we can let go of the thoughts that control us.
In the end, that’s what our whole experience is. Thoughts.
Judgemental attitude is unproductive. Whether it’s judging ourselves and our actions, doing the same for other people, or for things and life circumstances in general. Judging our way forward doesn’t take us anywhere worth going.
If anything, judging puts a negative spin on our day-to-day life. It can stop us from taking action. It’s almost like judgemental attitude gives us a ticket to bask in helplessness. To be the victim.
The more productive alternative, not surprisingly, is much harder.
Your diet is not good or bad. It just is. What do you notice about your eating habits? One of my favourites is, “I ate so much shit yesterday.” (Judging). To which I usually go, “Really, there wasn’t anything else available?” That’s an attempt at humour.
A pizza is not bad and a carrot is not good. One might take you closer or further from your goal. But they are still just thoughtless food items without any larger scale political or sociological agendas.
Your body is not good or bad. It just is. What do you see and feel? Not, “I feel like shit.” That’s you judging again. But, when observing your body what do you notice?
Today’s training session wasn’t good or bad. It just was. What did you notice while doing it? And based on that, do you think there’s something you could do differently next time?
Weather is not good or bad. It’s your observations that makes it. What can you appreciate about the torrential rain and thunderstorm?
And last, the most challenging scenario. She didn’t behave badly towards you. You just feel like she did. Why do you think that is?
Next time you find yourself in these situations, I challenge you to observe them without judging.
The other day, I am sitting on the bus on my way home minding my own business as I usually do. Yet I am drawn to observe the erratic behavior of the gentleman sitting in front of me. A gentleman who we shall call, Homer. It looks as if Homer’s mind and fingers are possessed by mystic, dark forces. Something out of an aftermath of a zombie apocalypse.…
Once every 3-4 months, I go through all my notes that I’ve written down and do a roundup post of what has been going through my head. Thoughts and quotes from books and actions that I’ve found helpful for me or for my clients. Your mind can work for you or against you when trying to reach you fitness goals. For the Parts I – V, check the links below this post. Without further due, here’s the Part VI where I ponder mindfulness, habits and stress.
You’ve set yourself a clear goal to reach your health goal in six months. You’ve know that the biggest road block is your appetite for sweets at work. You’re motivated, committed and maxed out on willpower.
Until the first busy afternoon at work when your stress levels are through the roof. You start fancying a thought of a sweet sweet chocolate goodness. You try not to think of that vending machine loaded with chocolate bars. Or that bowl of chocolates in the break room. But no matter how hard you try the chocolate goodness creeps back in your head until it become impossible to resist. So you give in and make the vending machine sing, but only today. Because tomorrow you’re stronger, more motivated, even more committed and full of willpower.
And then tomorrow afternoon rolls around and you repeat the same cycle. Same thing happens over and over again. Why is that and what to do about it? To find an answer we have to revisit a couple of studies from the past.