EE 020: Minding Mindfulness
In the spirit of taming our inner inebriated primate, we are going to unpack how to mind mindfulness.
Another way to be more present to your present is to practice mindfulness. In other words, embrace life’s simplicity. That word describes the starting point for the practice of mindfulness. Practice literally means ‘being in the present, on purpose’.
The practice of mindfulness involves no end destination. The means and end do not differ. The simplicity of the practice requires more than a recipe or a set of instructions. Our whole being must become involved. This is where attitudes and commitment come into play.
Attitudes involve intention. Intention sets the stage for what mindfulness can make possible. This tutorial breaks down the seven core attitudes of mindfulness.
Attitude 1: A Non-Judgmental Attitude
- This requires taking the stance of an impartial witness to your own experience.
- You begin noticing the stream of thoughts from a judging mind … good/bad/neutral … not trying to stop it but just being aware of it.
Attitude 2: The Attitude of Patience
- Letting things unfold in their own time.
- Practicing patience with ourselves. Why be in such a hurry to get through some moments to get to other ‘better’ ones? Each one is your life at that moment.
- Being completely open to each moment, accepting its fullness, knowing that things will emerge in their own time.
Attitude 3: Adopting a Beginner’s Mind
- Too frequently we let our thinking and our beliefs about what we ‘know’ prevent us from seeing things as they are in actuality.
- Cultivating a mind that is willing to view everything ‘as if’ for the very first time. Being open to new possibilities; not getting stuck in a rut where we believe our perspective is the only right one.
- Each moment is unique and holds unique opportunities.
Adapted from Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Attitude 4: An Attitude of Trust
- This involves developing a basic trust in ourselves and our feelings.
- Trusting in our own intuition and authority, even if we make several ‘mistakes’ along the way.
- This requires that we take responsibility for ourselves and our own wellbeing.
Attitude 5: The Attitude of Non-Striving
- Mindfulness has one ‘goal’, if you will. For you to be your authentic self. The irony is that you already are.
- Paying attention to how you are being right now is all that matters. Just observe and be true to this.
- The most effective way to achieve your own goals is to back off from striving and instead start to focus on carefully seeing and accepting things as they are. With practice and patience, movement towards your goals will naturally occur by itself.
Attitude 6: Unconditional Acceptance
- Seeing things as they are in the present.
- We often waste a lot of time and energy denying what fact is. We often try to force situations to how we would like them to be, which creates further tension and prevents positive change from occurring.
- ‘Now’ is the only time we have for anything. You have to accept yourself as imperfect, flawed in every way, before you can change. Flawed does not equal wrong, or bad, or unworthy. Flawed is just flawed.
- Acceptance is not passive; it doesn’t mean you have to like everything and give up on your values and principles. It doesn’t mean that you have to resign yourself to just tolerating things. It doesn’t mean that you should stop trying to break free of self-sabotaging habits, or abandon your desire to grow and change.
- Acceptance is a willingness to see things for how they are. You’re much more likely to know what to do and be able to follow your gut instinct when you have a clear picture of what is actually happening.
Attitude 7: Faith and Letting Go
- Letting go is about letting things be and accepting things as they are.
- If we find it especially difficult to let go of something because it’s got such a strong hold on our mind, we can turn our attention to what ‘holding’ feels like.
- Holding on is the complete opposite of letting go. Being open and willing to look at the way we hold on to things shows a lot about its opposite.
- We already know how to let go. Every night when we go to sleep we let go.
Summary of the Seven Core Attitudes of Mindfulness
- Non-judging –Simply watch whatever comes your way.
- Patience – Allowing things to unfold in their own time.
- Beginner’s Mind – Seeing things with ‘fresh eyes’.
- Trust – Cultivating your own intention and authority despite setbacks.
- Non-striving – Mindfulness is ‘being’, not ‘doing’.
- Acceptance – Seeing things as they are. No projecting. No denying. Just accepting.
- Letting Go – Not clinging to ‘people or stuff’.
Flex Your Self-Reflection Muscle:
1) How many of these attitudes can you identify in your own life (at the present time)?
2) How many of these attitudes would you like to improve upon?
3) Which one change of attitude could you make today that might benefit yourself and other people in countless different ways?
Excellent. Now put this self-reflection flexin’ into action. ♥