12-18-22 Mindfulness

Mindfulness

We live in a culture where many of us want quick results with as little effort as possible. This applies to how we approach our work, health, pastimes, spirituality, social interactions, and problems. This mindset is the antithesis of mindfulness. Thich Nhat Hanh

“Willingness, honesty and open-mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable. Here and there, once in a while alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences….Ideas and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of their lives are suddenly cast to one side, and a new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them.” AA

“This happens sometimes quickly, more often slowly, as one continues to walk the path beyond self-knowledge and expands into a more spiritual, connected and mindful state of being.”
This means disrupting the “norm,” the old established behaviors that seemed to have served us for so long, and stepping into a space where we don’t know everything and are willing to begin opening up to “see” what is, instead of following the old program.

Mindfulness is that aspect of the mind that knows what it is doing. It is collecting and focusing the mind on an object, establishing the mind on nothing but the object so that the mind becomes calm and can see the true nature of phenomena.

“When used as a noun, mindfulness typically suggests a state of mind: one of calmness, gratitude, and compassion that can have a profound effect on us.

When used as a verb, for example, “to be mindful,” it points to entering that state, practicing a way of being, a moment-by-moment gentle and nurturing awareness of our emotions, thoughts, and bodily sensations. And research backs up anecdotal evidence that obtaining a mindful brain can lead to a happier and more productive life.” (Shapiro, 2020; Williams & Penman, 2016.)

We can choose to not be mindful, to let our emotions drive us, to let our thoughts dominate our awareness, and engage numerous distractions, the phone, TV, eating, shopping, thinking, etc. When we have the awareness that these distractions, and our permitting negativity to dominate our thoughts cause us to suffer, we have the awareness that there is an alternative. We can mindfully engage in new behaviors and attitudes, or choose not to.

“Any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. Now what am I going to do about it? When I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer , the problem went away. And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.” AA pg. 417

“We are ‘neuroplastic.’  we have an ability to learn, unlearn, and grow. The idea that our brain is constantly changing throughout our lives means that our sense of happiness, contentment, and meaningful living, can be transformed through how we experience the present.” Shapiro, 2020; Eysenck & Keane, 2015

Mindfulness means paying full attention to something. It means slowing down to really notice what you’re doing. Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking. When you’re mindful, you’re taking your time. You’re focusing in a relaxed, easy manner. You are present.

What are the 3 qualities of mindfulness?
In general, they seek to develop three key characteristics of mindfulness:
Intention – to cultivate awareness (and return to it again and again when your mind wanders). Attention – to what is occurring in the present moment, simply observing thoughts, feelings, sensations as they arise.
An attitude – that is non-judgmental, curious, and kind.

When a Buddhist teacher talks about mindfulness of the breath—in meditation, for example—they’re talking about remembering the breath, maintaining your awareness on the breath.

Other meanings the Buddha connected with mindfulness were being alert; being ardent; being intent; and experiencing with comprehension. In other words, mindfulness is not just a kind of bare attention.

Ultimately, it is a way of training the mind. Mindfulness is involved in living ethically — it means remembering that you’re not going to kill anything, you’re not going to lie, you’re not going to steal, and so on. Remembering how you want to live, and being aware of the choices you make and what their consequences are likely to be.

Mindfulness is not an end into itself, but is essential to moving forward, honestly and with kindness. Thus, mindfulness is not restricted to formal sessions of seated meditation but is meant to accompany all activities in the course of the day. 

When you walk from one place to another, or driving, working, or…. be aware of all the mindless thoughts that occur. Be aware you can mindfully apply your attention to simply walking, or whatever you are doing, and feel all the aspects involved. Breathing, seeing what is there, hearing what is there, just feeling your journey and being fully present for it. Not letting random thoughts dominate. Apply a gentle sense of appreciation and contentment and feel the difference. We can re-wire the brain, but we must make the effort to do so.

When you are being mindful you probably won’t fit well into the “normal” way of yakking away, judging, moving too fast, or needing to be noticed and have the answer. Are you brave enough to be different and not fit into a social mode, or your own old mold? With awareness and mindfulness, the old mold becomes moldy. A freshness and depth of awareness occur and the underlying sense of dissatisfaction fades.

Tiny Bubbha -“ The great revelation came when I was listening to a podcast about mindfulness and secular Buddhism by a man named Peter Strong, a mindfulness expert and Skype counselor. His own experience with anxiety and depression as a young adult mirrored my own. I confessed to him that I saw breathing exercises as an attempt to distract. He said, “Yes. It’s a tool. Mindfulness is all in the subtleties.” Then he paused and told me, “Instead, when thoughts and feelings come, you simply say to them ‘Hello. I see you. Welcome.’ ( Accept them, then leave the door open for awareness of ALL, not focusing on any thought. Mindfulness is observing kindly, un-emotionally.)

After almost two years of struggling with my mind, the battle was coming to an end. I let the thoughts in. I let them stay. I treated them as one might a small wounded bird, compassionately. As promised, the negative taboo enshrouding them dissolved. The rumination stopped. I finally felt free.”

The difficulty lies not in our circumstances, but in our mindset. Circumstances will change, but regardless of circcumstances, if our mindset is one of dissatisfaction, fear and judgement we will always be dissatisfied. You cannot listen to beautiful music from 5 different stations at the same time, it will be a harsh, discordant mixture. Listen to, be with, one reality to fully engage in the beautiful music of life.

“Trying to change ourselves does not work in the long run because we are resisting our own energy. Self-improvement can have temporary results, but lasting transformation occurs only when we honor ourselves as the source of wisdom and compassion.” ~Pema Chodron, 

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.

Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com


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