Make mindfulness and meditation your priority.
Many people say that they find it difficult to be mindful or meditate. The main reason is “feeling uncomfortable”. For them, just to imagine sitting still for 15 minutes gives rise to a feeling of discomfort. It is much more comfortable to be constantly distracted by compulsive busy-ness (it can feel much easier and much more comfortable than being with “ones-self”). Also, we like the feeling of doing something, getting somewhere. Others are seduced by easy excuses such as: “I just don’t have time.” “I feel frustrated.” “My body aches all over.” “My mind is just too busy.” “It’s not for me.”
All of those reasons sound pretty convincing but it doesn’t change the fact that they are all excuses and they all miss the point. If you want peace in your heart, connection and a greater experience of happiness, sooner or later you will have to know and accept yourself (that includes all the bits you would rather not see), to stop thinking so much and to learn to choose how to relate to your thoughts and emotions instead of unconsciously reacting to them.
I know of no more effective way than mindfulness, meditation and adopting certain tried and proven practices (eg. compassion, gratitude, impermanence and forgiveness). You have to move from complaining and blaming (victim posture) to taking responsibility for your own wellbeing, your feelings, your actions (hero posture).
So how do we do all of this? We give our practices the priority they deserve. We don’t find the time, we make the time. Most of my meditating life I have had to help take care of between three and five young children. I never had time to meditate, to practice; I had to make the space. I had to be creative, organise my time to create the space.
I have made a list below of some mindfulness exercises that you can introduce into your daily life. I will be publishing more on a daily basis on our Facebook and web-page. I encourage you to try them out always with an attitude of open curiosity, kindness toward yourself and a sense of humour. Stop making excuses and simply do it!
Play and experiment with them in your daily life. If you want greater clarity, get in touch.
- Mindful Hand Awareness Exercise
Grasp your hands really tight and hold for a 10 -15 seconds. Then release and pay attention to the sensations in your hands. Keep your attention focused on the feelings as they change and fade. Try to follow these feelings for as long as you can.
2. Mental Focus Exercise
Stare at any object and try to remain focussed on just that object for as long as possible. Try it with an object that is important to you and with one that is neutral. Notice any difference in arising thoughts. When inevitably your mind starts to wander, just bring it back to the object. The longer you can remain focussed, the more your mindful concentration will increase.
3. Music Exercise
Listen to a song or piece of music that you really like and pay it your full attention. That means doing nothing else apart from listening to the music, preferably with your eyes closed. Notice how you feel. What are your emotions? Where are these emotions in your body? What memories come up, and how do those memories make you feel?
4. Taste/Olfactory Sense Exercise
Do this exercise first for smell and then for taste.
Smell something strong like coffee, chocolate, garlic, the sea or perfume and with your eyes closed. Pay close attention to what happens in your nose. Notice the reaction in your body eg, saliva in the mouth and then what feelings these scents evoke.
5. Shower Exercise
As you shower, imagine all of the stress, tension and any “negative stuff” you may have accumulated in the last 24 hours washing off your body with the water and soap. Feel all the tension, anger, stress and fear leaving your body and washing down the plughole.
6. Tactile Exercise
Pinch your arm and pay close attention to how it feels and what your emotions begin doing. Pay attention to the pain it causes and how it radiates out from the site where you pinch. This exercise can really tune you in to how your body deals with discomfort and what emotions arise. Do you get angry when you feel pain?