Being Mindful has been a question for me. After my three day Mindfulness retreat, I am more Mindful about the things I have not been mindful about. What the heck does that mean…??? Well, read a bit further.
I learned at the retreat what I think I already knew but had not learned how this feels or how to incorporate being more mindful into my habit driven lifestyle. No surprise, the key to being more mindful is to be aware and “present” by paying attention to your breath. Again no surprise, I learned that being more mindful works better when I focus on only one thing at a time. For example, drive focused without other distractions. (More examples to follow.) This focusing on one thing at a time is kind of challenging in our 24/7, multi-tasking world, but it certainly makes sense.
We practiced slower walking and breathing, awareness and appreciation of nature, and more meditations. The first two key ingredients to being more mindful (with 10 listed) where 1. to be aware of myself and my environment and 2. was to view each activity in your day with “Beginners Mind” and the feeling of wonderment. I liked these first two a lot. In fact, I really enjoyed all 10 ingredients in the book we used as a text but found number 6 a bit more challenging for me to fully appreciate and understand, let alone to practice. Number 6 was to live in “Equanimity.” I can barely spell Equanimity let alone know how to practice it. After consultation with my retreat group, its leader Chau Yoder (who is amazing) and my special Guru spiritual consultant, Paula Forget, I believe I am much closer to knowing what this is all about.
Equanimity is a very important, but a challenging (for me,) part of the Mindfulness life. This term refers to being able to look at and appreciate experiences in your life without getting caught in the “drama” of the experience. Paula Forget suggested that I look at each experience from the higher perspective of a “spiritual being” caught in a mortal body. As I look from a higher perspective, I may not “judge” the event, individual or experience but just see, perhaps feel it, as a neutral activity that can be curious and interesting. When I am successful, I may even feel empathy and appreciation for the circumstances which have lead to this experience and more fully understand my “lesson” or “challenge” from my participation. Even if this lesson is painful, which as a human I will feel, I can still feel appreciation for what I can learn from this challenge on my pilgrimage through life. This detachment does NOT mean you do not care or feel the physical or emotional pain. It means that you are not locked up without finding the higher perspective regarding how to celebrate (?) this difficult challenge.
One more example and an exercise you can attempt… Hold a tangerine. Look at it fully. Appreciate the work of people who delivered this fruit to you and the forces of nature which allowed this fruit to grow. Feel the tangerine. Scratch the peel and smell the tangerine. Slowly and carefully peel the tangerine, perhaps keeping the peel in one piece. Pull the first section out slowly and place this in your mouth. Breathe! Feel the tangerine section in your mouth. Move it around with your tongue. Press it against your teeth or slowly take a bite. Breathe! Taste the sweetness. Appreciate the sun and forces which developed the sugar of this fruit. Slowly swallow the first section and then slowly repeat this for as much of this tangerine as you wish. If you were not distracted and were focused upon this exercise, attempt this at your next meal… Try to not speak for 10 minutes while you eat… Be mindful. Breathe slowly. Appreciate.
Full List of 10 Qualities of Mindfulness are:
These are Pages 18-20 of Laurie Cameron’s book: “The Mindful Day, Practical Ways to Find Focus, Calm and Joy From Morning to Evening.”
2. Beginners Mind
5. Impermanence (Life is temporary and so are all the challenges…)
Special thanks to Chau Yoder for these helpful acronyms:
Consider C.A.R.E. when dealing with life’s experiences
To Assist you with this, try P.B.S.
One more tip for dealing with a situation which “Triggers” you. R.A.I.N.
I. Investigate with Kindness
N. Nurture (Yourself and the Appreciation of this Challenge)
If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.
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