Mindfulness is key to developing conceptual and emotional intelligence. In essence, when we are mindful, we are pausing to either think act or feel differently. Mindfulness is the buzzword in the business world right now. The jury is still out for many people as to whether mindfulness helps in other than a personal way. Practising mindfulness in specific ways can bring demonstrable benefits. What I want to share right now are three simple mindful practices. These can be used to deepen your sense of peace and help you at stressful times.
Of course, you are all aware meditation is one of several mindful practices. There are lots of different techniques which can be used to meditate. If you can remember the basic principle of meditation, you can harness the benefits of meditation without giving up with exasperation because you haven’t got it right. Simply stated, meditation is the act of disengaging from your thoughts.
Much stress and agitation are caused by either overthinking or negative thinking. The act of meditation actually shuts your thinking down and gives you a well-earned rest from constantly thinking about whatever is worrying you. All you have to do is:
a) become aware of your thoughts
b) concentrate on your breathing, and
c) simply watch your thoughts coming and going without attaching yourself to them.
This practice is very like meditation except it is more purposeful. While helpful insights may well arise when you are meditating, the main objective is to rest and refresh your mind. Contemplation is, however, is one of the mindful practices which can provide you with a distinct focus. So if you have a knotty problem, you may wish to use contemplation to ask your inner self about what the next step should be. To allow the answer to come through, you would pose the question, while emptying your mind, in a meditative way. Often the answer will come during the practice but do not be disappointed if it doesn’t, it will likely pop into your mind soon after.
The trick is to let go of getting an answer and it will come. When we have problems, we inadvertently overstress by constantly thinking about what we are going to do. Alternatively, we become engaged in diversions which simply avoid the problem. Contemplation can be a less stressful way of approaching situations which cause us to overthink or become diverted.
Practising non-judgment is indeed a mindful stretch! After many years of awareness, I am automatically still drawn into judging situations or people. But actually judging situations or people can create inner stress. How many times have you fumed about someone else while they are happily getting on with their lives and are completely oblivious to your distress? Mostly we don’t think there are any alternatives to judging others. Some of us think non-judgment is some kind of religious practice When you begin to pull away from judging people and situations as good or bad, then it frees you up from those negative thoughts which actually stress you, not whoever or whatever you are judging.
When you are able to think of people or situations you judge in alternative ways, then all the stress is removed. To move away from judging, you can mindfully consider people or situations either as “it works” or “it doesn’t work. So when someone is doing something you really don’t like or agree with, then you can think well that works for them, but it doesn’t work for me. Just try this practice and you will see how much more peaceful you feel when you are simply evaluating something which works or doesn’t work, rather than judging something good or bad.