Cultivating the Attitudes
Our individual attitudes underpin and support our mindfulness practice. These are made evident through meditation but can also be encouraged in our every day lives.
You are all interested and curious in mindfulness or you wouldn’t be reading week 3. When we become interested in something we want to explore it and know more. This attitude is known as the opposite of avoidance and is seen as a crucial aspect of dealing with difficulties in a different way. For example next time you when you feel anxious explore it, explore your environment when you feel this way, the people who surround you or don’t, your thoughts that come about when you feel this way, sensations that occur within your body. Be curious about your yourself inside and out. We are all curious at different times.
‘I wonder why she done that?”why am I feeling like this?”ugh why didn’t I just say how I felt”oh that statue is new I wonder when that got there’.
Striving for a particular result is counterproductive in the practice of mindfulness. We want to learn about our represent experience, what is happening at this moment in time and being with that experience now NOT sometime in the future. Striving can suggest something is lacking or that our current situation or ourselves could be better. When we strive towards something we constantly check to see to see how far we are from where we wanna be. The reaching of this goal is the end point. We put ourselves under pressure. NON-STRIVING allows for more unexpected opportunities. Allows us to be more free spirited. I for one am a natural striver. I have goals I want to reach and usually have plans of how I will reach these goals. The only thing is I don’t give myself timeframes or end points. (I want to be healthier, I want to be happier, I want to improve my strength, I want to learn how to drive). The disadvantage I see with this ‘non-striving’ approach is some people may lose motivation or purpose in life. Some people work well with a little self-pressure in achieving goals and others are just natural free spirited souls who will achieve what they want with no panic if it’s not anytime soon.
“In the beginners mind there are many possibilities but in the experts there are few”.
Can you approach your experience with ‘beginners’ mind?
Basically this means beginners or newbies to new experiences are open-minded and understand there is a lot to learn whilst acknowledging they do not know it all. For example student nurses are new to the medical field, are constantly learning, ask questions and acknowledge they do not know everything yet. They want to learn and are ‘curious’. Experts believe they already know it all and therefore limit themselves to gaining any new knowledge or experiences. Iv met a few expert nurses who believe they know everything there is to know about mental health and avoid updates in training for example. They protect and defend their expert label. This allows the expert to be blind to new opportunities and experiences that may be arising. You limit yourself basically.
Example: Can you drink this cup of tea as if you’ve never tasted it before? Walk down out of your house like you do every day but do it as if it was your first time. Look around. Listen. What’s new? Smell.
With all this paying attention we’re doing and the awareness we develop of others and their behaviours we realise how judgemental we can be. Non-judging is the heart of mindfulness. Self-awareness of these judging thoughts is key. It’s hard to acknowledge that you are judging someone for their actions or words. By being aware of our own judging thoughts we can acknowledge them and set them free. Myself and my best friend started doing this at the beginning of the year. Usually we’d ring eachother and be like ‘OMG did you see what so and so wrote on Facebook?’ Or just screenshot it and send it on whatsapp. We began to pull eachother up on this behaviour. ‘I know I’m being really judgemental here but did you see what so and so said’ and the we’d say ok that was mean we need to stop that. It kind of became a thing we laughed about. Everyone will judge everyone and everything but it’s about asking yourself or your best friend ‘was that really necessary to point out or comment on?’.
Accepting negative experiences, plans that didn’t work out as you’d have liked them to, relationship break ups, unfortunate events. Acceptance is never easy but we’ve learned this skill from a very young age. For example have you ever sat down on for too long and got back up and had pins and needles in your foot or leg. It’s a horrible sensation but you accept it. You wouldn’t opt for this experience but it’s happening and you get it with it.
It’s nice to be important but it’s important to be nice
Kindness is at the heart of mindfulness. We must practice this with ourselves as much as we do with others. Be kind to yourself. You spend most of your life with just you inside your own thoughts. Become your best friend. Treat yourself like you treat your best friend. Stop being so mean to yourself. If your best friend treated you mean you’d acknowledge it or you wouldn’t accept it and stop being their friend so why accept it from yourself?