Have you ever thought how much of your life could change for the better if you could just live a year of mindfulness instead of having your monkey mind running wild and uncontrolled? Wonder what’s a monkey mind? Just try to recall how many times your mind has strayed to the past in the last 30 seconds?
Or did you let yourself get carried away by some other thoughts while attempting to recall? Now that’s monkey mind for you. We’ve been conditioned to live with a noisy and untrained mind that it never occurred to us that we have the power not to react to every single thought that arises.
Nor have we imagined the transformation that could happen when we are at peace with our thoughts. Where we no longer react to every single thought and let every single negative emotion of anger, regrets or hatred taking over our mind.
Living in the present. Being attentive to your thoughts. Not dwelling on the past nor worrying about the future. These are the general definition you’ll get from famous gurus or articles. It sounds straight from the textbook, and made you wonder how does it pertain to you in your busy daily life?
For a start, how about spending less time in the gym just to get rid of the excessive fat that comes from your eating habit. Having a second thought of what you’re putting in your mouth is equally important as spending quality time at the gym. Trust me, your regular GP wouldn’t want you visiting more than necessary.
If you spend more than 2 hours driving on the road every single day, you realize that most of the time you take your driving skill for granted. I learned that at the cost of wrecking my car. What happened is that I have my thoughts all over the place except on driving itself. Besides causing accidents, an unfocused mind is weak and susceptible to emotional outburst. Ever wonder why you lost your temper easily on the road?
If you’re thinking that mindfulness is all about slowing down what you’re doing and wondering how that could be applicable that when you’re chasing deadlines with your boss breathing down your back, you are in for a surprise. In fact, bringing mindfulness to your workplace increases your focus amidst distraction and pressure.
Programmers will spend less time hunting for bugs in their thousand lines of code. Marketers will stop getting overwhelmed by the numerous campaigns they are juggling at the same time. Start-up entrepreneurs will stop getting in their own way and start focusing on what really matters when they bring a deeper awareness into their fast-paced life.
We have made a habit of taking too much stress home. We’re talking about getting a couple of weeks break just for a stress-releasing vacation. But what about nipping workplace stress in the bud? There must be a solid reason for companies like Google, General Mills, and Intel initiated mindfulness programs at their workplace.
It depends on what you’re trying to achieve.
If you’re expecting to transform your mind to be ever-present and not caught up by a single stray thought after a single day of practicing mindfulness, you’ll be greatly disappointed. The fact is, building up mindfulness takes consistency and patience.
When you have spent decades of your life living with an untrained mind, it will take years to cultivate your mind into a calm presence from the turmoil it is now. Anyone who tells you otherwise does not understand what mindfulness really is.
But the good news is, mindfulness practice is easy to start. You can start with 15 minutes of daily mindfulness meditation. Just grab a FREE copy of my meditation guide if you haven’t done so. But just don’t limit yourself to thinking that mindfulness is only confined to the practice of meditation itself. If you’re not bringing mindfulness to your everyday life, you’re missing out the real value of mindfulness.
The common frustration I’ve seen with people practicing mindfulness is they turn it into a goal setting practice. It’s like having expectations like “I’m going to have 30 minutes of calm, mindfulness experience before I sleep” and guess what? They get frustrated and discouraged when they find that their mind doesn’t really behave as they expected.
Here’s what you really should remember when you’re meditating or working on your daily tasks. Mindfulness doesn’t work when you’re setting an expectation and forcing yourself to stay in the present. Mindfulness works when you set a right intention and decided to give it your best effort. Bottom line is, if you’re feeling bad for not achieving mindfulness, you’re getting the whole mindfulness idea wrong.
Mindfulness could be many things, but it’s definitely not a course that you could finish in 6 months and brand yourself a mindfulness guru. It’s through years or decades of living and dedication to taming the monkey mind that one become adept in mindfulness. Think of it as a lifetime practice, rather than a short-term solution that you summon when you’re desperate.
You can’t mention mindfulness, without highlighting some of the renowned mindfulness teachers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, and Sharon Salzberg.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder and director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and associate professor of medicine in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine.
He is best known for the stress reduction program that he has created, mindfulness-based stress reduction technique (MBSR). MBSR programs have been offered in more than 720 medical centers, hospitals, and clinics around the world. His book, Wherever You Go, There You Are became a national best-seller in 1994.
Jack Kornfield is one of the key teachers who introduced mindfulness practice to the west. Trained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, Burma, and India, Jack Kornfield has taught meditation in centers and universities around the world since 1974.
He has written more than a dozen books and The Wise Heart has touched many with his delightful stories and humbling wisdom.
Sharon Salzberg is the co-founder of Insight Meditation Society and The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, both in Massachusetts. She is best known for her practice of Vipassana meditation and cultivation of loving kindness and compassion.
Sharon Salzberg was honored by the New York Open Center in 1999 for her “Outstanding Contribution to the Mindfulness of the West“. Her book, Real Happiness: The Power Of Meditation has been a New York Times Bestseller in 2011.
When I started my mindfulness practice as I finished high school almost two decades ago, it’s a pretty lonely journey, as most of my friends are more interested in games, dating, and footballs. I’m not saying you can’t practice mindfulness alone. But wouldn’t it be more fun if you’re able to connect with like-minded people and learn from the best meditation teachers?
That’s how I came to learn that SoundsTrue, a multimedia publishing company that started in 1985, has brought together top mindfulness teachers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg and more in a new online mindfulness program called Year Of Mindfulness 2017.
The thing that I like about this program is how you get to connect with a single mindfulness teacher live each month and connect with other like-minded practitioners in a private Facebook group. It definitely made practicing mindfulness more fun than grabbing a mindfulness book and meditating in the corner of your room.
Here’s what you’ll get from A Year Of Mindfulness at a cost of $27 per month (with ONE-year money back guarantee).
You can check out the message from Jack Kornfield and other mindfulness teachers HERE, along with other program details that may interest you.
Either way, I hope you are bringing mindfulness into your life this year, before your monkey mind caused more trouble for you, as it did for mine.
Has your monkey mind caused you dearly in life? Or has practicing mindfulness transformed your life in a positive manner? Share your mindful stories at the comment below.
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I am an engineer-turned-writer who once struggle with social anxiety. After overcoming problems inflicted by low self-esteem and the fear of interaction, I realize the need for taking a holistic approach in developing our mind. I'm sharing my experience, remedies, and techniques that interest me in my quest to be a better self.
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