Are you living your life asleep or awake?
Consciously or unconsciously? With mindfulness or without it?
You might find yourself going through the motions of your life. Your journey to and from work, the seasons outside your window, wishing away your hours at work, anticipating the weekend and dismissing weekdays.
You may well have learnt about mindfulness, attempted to put it into practice yet still find yourself going back to your old behaviours!
I have worked with many students and hope that mindfulness has become a way of life for each and every one of them and for you! Yet I know that it’s a life-skill for ever!
I practice mindfulness yet I am not mindful every second of the day – who is?
Recognise when you are ‘asleep’
To be more self-aware also includes when you recognise that you are not being mindful, that you were asleep. It’s when you’ve resorted to an old destructive way of thinking or behaving, but when you recognise this, it is still an achievement!
Otherwise you would be on auto-pilot and not even have noticed.
Imagine a football player practising goal shooting – she may score 30 out of the 400 tries she takes. It’s the same with mindfulness – the more you practice it, the more you will find it becomes second nature.
Yet all the misses are part of the mindfulness practice.
Integrate your mindfulness
It takes time to integrate a new way of behaving – old habits are deeply entrenched in the brain. So to introduce a different way of being isn’t going to be an overnight success. Our brains have been hooked into programming since before we were born.
This is important to remember because if you have completed a mindfulness course, and still find it difficult to implement, it’s not because you are a failure or that ‘mindfulness is not for you’.
The key is to practice it – through sitting still to meditate and through everything you do in your day.
Celebrate when you are ‘awake’!
When you catch your old behaviour or way of thinking, celebrate that you’ve recognised it! Notice, ‘ah, here I am, telling myself that I’m a failure’ or ‘OK, this is tough and I’m feeling anxiety and I want to hide away’.
Notice what you were thinking, acknowledge it, then move on with self-compassion towards yourself.
Set your intention for each day,
‘May I be as mindful as I can throughout my day.’
You will then NEVER fail, because you will always be doing your best, and knowing that you can keep trying again with every new second.
Little by little you will become more in control of those knee-jerk reactions and more fully aware to the present. More awake, less asleep!
The best way to sustain a life-long skill of mindfulness is to practice a little bit of meditation daily.
Remember every day you choose whether you are asleep or awake!
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Guide