What is our aim of doing it? Where are we trying to get to?
Learning mindfulness can be broken down into 4 steps;
1. Creating a Tiny Pause - a moment to bring our attention into the present. To give ourselves a chance to listen to how things are for us. To give ourselves high quality attention.
2. Awareness. Developing our awareness of how we are really feeling, what we are really thinking. Learning what is at the source of our reactivity, our frustration, our anger.
3. Acceptance. When our attention drifts to the past or the future this is our attempt at control. To try and control the things that make us feel anxious or frustrated. When we accept something as it is, we feel no need to try and control it.
4. Self confidence. When we experience the first 3 steps we feel more comfortable about who are and what we want to go towards. This empowers us with confidence to make decisions and choices that lead to actions which are effective (in a work context) and fulfilling (in a life context).
To achieve these steps we practice 3 techniques;
Training our attention
Lack of judgement
A quick list to help you on your journey
1. All the benefits only begin with a Tiny Pause. It is the seed of all our practices. Everyone who has created a mindfulness habit has a Tiny Pause as part of their day. So forget about reaching any other step until you have formed this habit.
It is the foundation for a daily formal practice
2. You dont need to worry about step 3. It comes naturally just by practising Step 2. We often think we can choose acceptance. But for most of us this is not possible. Acceptance is reached over time, the more time we spend just bringing awareness to ourselves, our emotions, our unconscious reactions, the more acceptance grows.
When you decide to plant a flower do you ' just choose' for it to grow? Or do you give it some attention and watch as this tiny seed becomes a flower over time.
Or if you have children; you find yourself looking at this enormous thing in front of you remembering when it was a baby and its whole hand would fit around one of your fingers.
Now its going to school - how did that happen?
Acceptance grows in the same way - little by little, day by day.
3. When we start to give ourselves daily high quality attention we begin to really listen to how we are feeling. And guess what? Sometimes we don't like what we hear or see.
Our years of distraction relaxation (T.V, Films, reading, music, drink, food, socialising) means that most of us have suppressed or avoided thinking about the stuff that makes us feel frustrated, sad, angry or anxious.
So when we begin to look at it, it can feel uncomfortable. This is normal.
But what can we do to take the pain away? Just give yourself more high quality attention. I know some of you wont like this answer. Because you want a quick fix. An action you can do or a thing you can take to make it better.
How has that paradigm of thinking worked for you so far?
Consider it this way. You are invited on a walk with a friend. You arrive at the start of the walk to find an enormous mountain in front of you. You first reaction is WTF? I'm not going up there.
But your friend really needs you to go with them. You know its the kind thing to do. So you begin. As your walking you realise that its just walking. Its a little harder than normal walking but walking none the less. You know how to do it. And when you reach the top............ the view is beyond what you could have imagined.
The worst feeling we experience is the anxiety before we do it. When we are actually doing it, it feels easier.
Take 4 breaths now. Slow concious breaths.
Little by little, day by day.