Mindfulness are we thinking about it totally wrong? This might be a bit of a controversial one but I’m interested in what you think. Something that’s on my mind that I wanted to share, sometimes when we practice Mindfulness I feel we are searching for something, I can relate to this myself. We want the calm and nice feeling, so we start searching for it and almost become addicted to it, we become hooked to the calm feeling it gives us and become almost selfish about it.
This doesn’t feel right when you go back to the roots of what mindfulness is, wanting to feel calm and wanted it to be a certain way just doesn’t fit with what its meant to be all about. In particular the non-judgemental elements to it, if we are expecting it to be a certain way we are making judgements about it. If we have a bad experience and we think it’s the ‘wrong’ way to practice it then we are making judgements about this too.
Yes sometimes when I practice it I get the warm fuzzy feeling but also I sometimes don’t get a calm feeling. I feel anxiety in my chest, feeling the impact of stress on my body, becoming more aware of how busy I am. Yes over time mindfulness will help us find more calm but we don’t always experience calm as we start to build our awareness, so being hooked onto the idea of finding calm every time just isn’t healthy I don’t think. If I sat down to practice and expected to find a warm fuzzy feeling every time I would get a shock. Although there are benefits, if we do feel good when we practice it we are likely to practice it more and we are then more likely to build a mindfulness habit, so this is an up side of this!
I was thinking about what to do about this and I think as a Mindfulness teacher I should try and provide an answer and be a bit of a thought leader on this one and I think the answer instead of thinking of ourselves and finding our calm when we practice Mindfulness, a better way to think about it is it think of others. If we practice Mindfulness so we are better able to help others then we will ultimately create a better world with the kindness and compassion that comes from the attitude both inside and outside of formal ‘practice’. The buddhist term for this is ‘Metta’ which means loving kindness as is more of an attitude both within and outside the formal practice it’s a way of being, treating yourself and others with kindness and compassion. I think there is a difference between self kindness and compassion and treating mindfulness non-judgementally and the selfish want for calm, a search for something and almost an addiction. I also always hear the term ‘mindfulness’ banged about in so many ways and used to describe stuff just because it sounds good, or because its fashionable/trendy (cant say that without feeling old!). If we are being true to the roots of Mindfulness and practicing in in the way it is intended and in a non judgemental way then I think we are onto a winner, for ourselves, others and the wider world!
Are you thinking about mindfulness all wrong?? What do you think about it??
Mindful kindful thoughts
Chief Happiness Officer