For many of us it’s not especially easy to turn inward and find peace. We might have tried to establish a kind, open, and loving relationship with our own thoughts and reactions, and yet again and again find ourselves back in old habits of doubt and self judgment.
How can we live in a friendly and satisfying way with ourselves and others? What can we do to feel less stressed out, more happy, and more resilient? Is there a way to affect our habits, our ways of thinking and reacting, in a lasting way? My observation is that the answers to these questions are dependent upon our relationship with our own mind.
How can we change our relationship with our mind? We need some power to do that. One popular method we have to increase this power is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness allows us to train our awareness, our ability to focus and our concentration. It gives us space—to see how we are currently relating to ourselves. But even more important is developing the right attitude towards our own inner world.
Colorful inner world
We have the ability to turn inward. Doing that we discover a colorful world: our body and mind, with many sensations, emotions, thoughts, memories, intuitions, reactions, and much more.
There is a continuous flow of content moving through our awareness. We might find moments with amazing warmth and spaciousness and others that feel narrow or fearful. Some memories and thoughts might feel very pleasant and others might numb us. During a mindfulness meditation we are just aware of what is. If we stay with merely observing what is, including that we notice we lost our chosen focus and are coming back to it, this meditation calms our nervous system. Our breathing and our muscles start to relax, relaxation deepens in this process, and our inner world might lighten up a bit.
Allowing our attitude to change (even if it seems we can’t)
Mindfulness is a very important element in my daily life. It’s a main part of my care for good energy, resiliency, health, and contentment.
To really be present with what is, is a prerequisite for shaping and enjoying it, and this presence allows us to notice right away when something does not feel good or might become overwhelming. Mindfulness tells us when we are getting tired and need a little change or a break. To notice this information from inside can disturb our habitual activity, but we can learn from it. Learn to find abetter way.
Consciously taking smart breaks
If I notice early that I’m getting tired, even if there is no time to change anything or to take a break, I notice and acknowledge my exhaustion. This allows me to stay connected, friendly and compassionate with myself and it helps me to decide how to continue in the given situation. I can take a break, take a deep, compassionate breath, and I can imagine a satisfying way to recover from my current overload later. This changes my growing feeling of resistance against that situation and by that, save energy.
There is always something we can do. A conscious choice based on acceptance can enable us to continue with agreement instead of resistance. Tiny breaks, even if that means just a short moment of breathing deeply are refreshing internally. Sometimes a snack or a cup of tea can do wonders. Also knowing that after a stressful day a nourishing recovery time will follow can ease the difficulty of the situation.
Mindfulness as prerequisite for contentment
Experiencing and training mindfulness again and again enables us to lean back on it when we need it. It gives us more balance and resilience in daily life and also in challenging conflicts. We might feel a homing instinct to what calms and soothes and maybe our ability to choose increases.
The experience of victimization is connected with the notion of not having choice. That easily leads to rejection and resistance, which sap our energies. With more mindfulness and presence we can notice inner choices easier, even if we can’t find outer ones.
This awareness allows us to be friendlier and more mindful with our needs, the time and energy that are available in our days.
Our most important relationship
Happiness and inner contentment can simply be the result of a good relationship with ourselves—imagine that! Just as we learned ways to communicate with others as we grew up, we also learned our ways of internal communication. Mindfulness can serve as a supportive link or bridge to a way of living that fits us now.
Meditation as kindness to ourselves
I hope that you find valuable hints here on your meditation journey. Often I’ve witnessed people hoping to change their experience and find ease by changing something on the outside. It can be so frustrating to not find the benefits we are looking for in that way! And it’s so easy to give up.
Independent from outer factors, we can change our life using inner methods if we apply them with patience, honesty and consistency, giving ourselves loving understanding and compassion.