We get what we cultivate in our lives. Like seeds, our thoughts take root in our experience.If we focus on failure, we fail.Even our unexpressed thoughts affect our work, our relationships, our daily lives… As we change our attitude, we change our world. ~ Diane Dreher, The Tao of Inner Peace
Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the University Of Massachusetts Medical Center’s Stress Reduction Clinic, advocates seven attitudinal foundations of mindfulness: They are: non-judging, patience, a beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go.
To help you develop a mind-set for mindfulness, consider the following:
Are you able to observe your thoughts without judging? How often do you judge yourself rather than simply observe the thoughts as they arise? Learning to be unconditionally accepting of others begins with being non-judgmental of yourself.
Do you seek instant pain relief and instant pleasure, rather than allowing events to occur at their own pace and time? A complete openness to each moment requires patience.
A Beginner’s Mind
Do you consider yourself an expert or a beginner? From Zen philosophy comes the notion of the beginner’s mind, which means that you are learning to experience each moment and activity as if it were for the first time. Children provide excellent models of this concept.
How often do you wait for others to decide before making a personal decision? Learning to trust yourself rather than looking to others is a key to developing mindfulness. In the process of observing thoughts, feelings, sensations, and bodily experience, you learn to trust that as everything in nature changes, so will the experience of the moment change.
Most of our waking day is spent in “doing” or striving to go somewhere or get something. Non-striving infers “being,” and striving infers “doing.” Creating our identity is often based on what we do or what gets done. Developing a proper mind-set for mindfulness requires an awareness of being open to anything and everything that is experienced. Learning to be happy in the moment and finding a time to “be” each day without constant striving is at the heart of the mindfulness practice.
Do you have a hard time accepting yourself? In practicing mindfulness, you accept each moment as it comes, and you are with it fully. Acceptance is learned as you observe the thoughts, feelings, sensations, and experiences that arise without judgment. Learning to accept your past, despite the pain, failures, and problems, will be difficult unless you learn to accept what is happening in the present.
How often do you “hang on” to experiences and people from the past? Forgiveness means letting go. One of my favorite quotes is “Hanging on to resentment is allowing someone you despise to live rent free in your head.” If you can observe and let go of the thoughts, feelings, sensations, and experiences that arise from moment to moment, it will be easier to let go of the past.
~ Jerry Braza, Moment By Moment