Some yrs. ago, that frankly now feels like another lifetime, I struggled with the concept of learning Mindfulness. It felt like a waste of time. I was a type A personality, always on the go. I was impatient, often irritated, chasing that elusive thing called perfectionism. The harder I tried, the more unattainable it became. Satisfaction in achieving a goal would quickly be overshadowed by what was next. Most of the time, the fuel behind the chase was perpetuated by the desire to please others. My brain was always in overdrive, and my body had become so accustomed to being tied up in knots that I no longer noticed.
I contemplated Mindfulness or some form of meditation often but would always come up with reasons for it not being a good idea.
I share some of them with you now in case they might be holding you back too.
Reasons (that I now know were just excuses)
1) I don’t have enough time to meditate.
This reason was my number 1 go-to. I recall one day very clearly coming in the drive of my farm, my mind reeling with the never-ending list of things that needed my attention when Mindfulness nudged me again. My angry mind fired back, “I don’t have time to meditate,” but this time, Mindfulness answered me with, “Which is precisely why you need to start!” It was an aha moment as I realized I was allowing time to control me instead of choosing how to use my time. Even though I still wasn’t convinced, I caught a glimpse of how liberating that moment felt.
2) Next on the list was the idea I had to sit rigidly, uncomfortable, making the task even more unappealing than it already seemed.
While this is true in some practices and silent retreats, the most excellent teachers in our Western World suggest that we sit, stand, lie down, or even walk in a way that is comfortable while maintaining alertness. A well-known master of Mindfulness, Davidji, begins sessions with the words “Comfort is Queen” and goes further by saying that when starting a new practice that is already unfamiliar and thus uncomfortable strict requirements of how we sit can reduce the likelihood that we will continue the practice.
Something inside me began to loosen a little, but I still had more reasons why it wouldn’t work for me.
3) In Mindfulness, you must empty and maintain a void mind.
With a mind that never shut off, even in my sleep, how could I achieve no thoughts?
Mindfulness is not about achieving no thoughts but learning to observe them and let them go. We are humans, and we will always have thoughts, and that’s good, but Mindfulness can support you in releasing all the repetitive non-serving thoughts that are weighing you down and exhausting your brain. It can guide how you choose to react.
For someone whose brain felt frazzled and exhausted most of the time, that sounded so enticing, but old habits die hard, so I still had another reason why Mindfulness was not for me.
4) In Mindfulness, you have to chant Mantras.
Again, another false idea my mind had convinced me of. It wasn’t that I opposed chanting a Mantra; the idea of learning to pronounce and remember the Mantra felt like another task.
Mantras are tools that help you focus by quashing mind chatter and redirecting you back to the present moment. A mantra is one form of what can be called an anchor, a tool for anchoring you back in the present moment. An anchor can be following your breath in various ways, noticing sensations in your body, or focusing on sounds, to name a few.
The above sounded much more doable and convinced me to try Mindfulness, and I have never looked back. I am no longer constantly striving for perfection and the next best thing. I’ve discovered that being present with others in the moment is the greatest gift I can offer. When my mind feels tired and irritated, which is human, so at times, it still does, I offer myself a pause before I react. Mindfulness has been a total game changer in how I live my life.
So, what about you? Now that I have shared some of my story, what’s yours? Is Mindfulness worth a try?
Beginning September 12th, I will offer an online Mindfulness Meditation every Tuesday. You can find out more about it HERE.
Sometimes we are all looking for a little extra focused one-on-one support. If that is you, I invite you to explore MINDFULNESS COACHING. I offer complimentary consultations to ensure it is a good fit before you dive in!
I hope you will consider joining me.
Gratefully from my heart to yours,