The Topic of Mindfulness
Let’s get into the topic of mindfulness. This is a really important topic and I think that you should start to really think about this and develop mindfulness, because it can have some powerful effects on your life. I’m going to give you some practical ways to start developing mindfulness without just theorizing about it. This is going to be really cool, really fast, really practical. Before we get into that, though, let’s talk about why mindfulness is important.
Why Mindfulness is important
Why you should care about Mindfulness is basically because it’s going to make you happy, it’s going to make you calm and peaceful, and it’s going to get you high performance in your career or whatever else that you’re out there doing in your life. It can lead to some really profound realizations down the road if you keep really practicing it and doing it. But really it’s about stopping suffering. How do you stop suffering? We all have this question.
Doing and Suffering
All of us are looking for something more in our lives where we’re doing. We’re doing this. Doing that Doing relationships. We’re doing our work and then we’re wondering it there’s more to life than just doing. How can I get rid of some of this pain I’m having and really what you’re having there is you’re having suffering. You’re suffering in some way in different parts of your life, and you’re always looking for ways to eliminate that suffering. Mindfulness is very powerful for that.
Let’s talk about what mindfulness is now. Mindfulness, quite simply is being in the moment and having an observation of yourself. So, in your mind, it’s as though you step out of yourself, step out of your body, step out of your mind, and you’re just observing yourself without any sort of judgment, without any sort of criticism, without any sort of additional thought. All you’re doing is observing yourself, so it’s like an extra layer that you’re adding like an extra cognitive layer that you’re adding into your everyday activities where you’re just observing yourself.
Observe the Chimp
Look at yourself as though you were observing a chimp in a zoo. So you know how like a social scientist or an anthropologist or whoever studies chimps will go into a zoo and sit there and just sit near the chimp cage and just kind of watch the chimps do their thing and if that scientist is trying to be objective, that scientist is trying to just sit there and not add any of his own ideas to what the chimps are doing. He’s just sitting there, just like recording notes just on what the chimps are doing, okay, that chimp just ran across from one side of the cage to the next okay. You just writes that down. Then he sees another chimp go and hit this chimp in the head with his fist. So he just like writes that down. He doesn’t judge it. He just writes it down and he’s just observing it. So it’s basically like he’s sitting there with a camera. Just like recording what the chimps are doing. That’s what mindfulness is because we are self conscious human beings.
We have the ability to look at ourselves and to introspect. That is how you can be more mindful. You can start to observe yourself, notice what is happening throughout your day and you might say well, I already know what’s going on – I know what I did yesterday. And I know what I’m doing today. I know what I just did before I sat down to to do this blog post. So you might be saying aren’t we doing that already, and the answer is no. You’re not doing it already. This is something when you actually start doing it you’ll start to realize how much you were missing out on one thing that is kind of a shocking revelation. If you haven’t really studied this stuff, you haven’t really done any consciousness work through meditation or contemplation, then you’re, actually going to be shocked by how little consciousness you exhibit.
Throughout your day, you’re, going to be shocked at how how much of a stimulus response animal you are and all you’re doing is you’re behaving like a chimp. You’re walking through life and you’re doing your chimp things and you’re behaving like a chimp, not even knowing that somebody is watching you. You are just doing stuff, you’re not aware of what you’re doing. Actually, you’re not really conscious. This is such a deep point. Most of us are not aware and the way that you start to develop consciousness by starting to be more mindful, starting to just notice what you’re doing. What does this mean? What does it mean to be noticing what you’re doing? First of all, let’s start off by having you be aware of the mundane little tasks that you’re doing throughout your day.
Notice you’re eating
The next time you sit down to have some lunch or some dinner basically any kind of food. I just want you to be aware that you’re sitting down to have some food. Do it as a little test. It’s, going to be harder than you think it is. Just sit down and remember and try to be conscious of the fact that I’m sitting down to eat some food. Don’t think about it too much it’s just kind of like an observation. Also the next time that you walk out of your front door of your house or your apartment I want you to be aware of the fact that you are doing that. Just be aware that’s it. This is what it takes to start building mindfulness. If you start doing this, you’ll find that it’s actually really difficult and that you’re forgetting all the time and you’re actually not aware of what it is.
Do this exercise
Stop reading this blog and do a little exercise. Think of yourself. Think of your name and say your name. If I was doing this I would get my stopwatch or some sort of clock and I would try to look at that clock and while I’m doing that, I’m thinking of myself. They think of my name Ben. I’m thinking of Ben, Ben, Ben. I am Ben. Try to just think about that. Don’t say anything, try to just think about that or 60 seconds, just 60 seconds and notice what happens. You going to notice is that you can’t even do it for 60 seconds. Some thought is going to come up and it’s going to distract you and your conscience is going to wander. You’re also going to notice that at that point when you’re actually thinking about yourself, you’re observing yourself and your conscious.
Now notice emotions
Notice how different that is from the moment that you were before you did the exercise and the whole day that went on today. How you just kind of ran through your whole day until up to this point, where I actually forced you to focus your consciousness by doing this exercise. That will start to get you to realize that you are not as conscious as you think – that really you are asleep. You are not conscious at all. What you’ve got to start doing is then start to bring awareness to things throughout your day. The other thing that I want you to really start to bring awareness to is: I want to start to bring awareness to the most difficult thing to bring awareness to and you know what that is – negative emotions.
This is the best way to build Mindfulness. The next time that you have an emotional episode where you get angry at someone. You get frustrated, you want to yell at them. You’ll get sad, you get depressed, you start to worry, you get anxious, you start to get pessimistic or down on yourself. You’ll start to feel very lonely and sad. You start to feel overwhelmed very stressed anything negative, anything emotional, especially where you tend to then do stupid things as a result. That is where you’re the least conscious, so as an exercise, the next time that that’s happening to you, notice. Remember to notice.
An example of noticing emotions
So here’s an example of how it’s going to look. Let’s say some guy just cut me off. I’m on my way to work. I’ve got an important project and this guy just cut me off and almost bumped into me on the road, and now I’m furious. I’m irritated. I’m not yelling at him but it ruins my mood and I’m thinking like “that [ __ ] guy…” and the more you think about it the more you would go into a tailspin and then your thoughts just go all over the place. Instead, what you do, if you’re trying to be mindful, is you run that additional layer of mental processing, and you say: “okay, let this thought process run itself out”. Let the anger run itself out, but you’re watching it. You’re an observer. You’ll be like a third party observer. Like that scientist watching the chip. So pretend that you’re the chimp and you’re just watching yourself and just watch yourself be angry.
Watch your thoughts
You might have thoughts like “How could that guy do that? I’m always so polite on the road. I observe proper etiquette. I always turn my signals on and this jerk just cut me off like that. That was so dangerous of them. You know what, if I had my kids in the car and we actually had a crash and the car flipped over like it’s raining now, so it’s even double dangerous, and then I wouldn’t have been able to make this meeting….” So while this whole thought process is going through watch it don’t stop it. Just watch it run through and don’t judge. Don’t tell yourself “this is bad!” Don’t tell yourself that it’s bad to be angry. Just let it run through, but watch it. Wow – that is so powerful if you can do that, and you can start doing this consistently.
This is the key to developing emotional mastery. It’s the key to developing real self consciousness, self-awareness and control over your life. The more you start to do this, the more control you’re going to develop, the more self-aware you’re, going to become, and the less things will start to bother you. Your suffering will diminish. What’s going to happen is that when you take that third-person perspective and you’re, mindful of everything that’s going on your life, then you’re no longer identifying with the pain and suffering of everything. You’ll no longer be reacting, You’re not a stimulus response animal. You can actually have something come into your life that is painful or bad, but because you can detach yourself from it. it’s not really going to affect you.
It takes a little bit of vision to see this, but imagine the performance you could have in your life. If something bad happened to you and you did not have to react to it or suffer from it, can you imagine what that can do? Can you imagine if you’re running your business and you lose your biggest clients, but instead of getting upset about it and yelling at your employees and causing this big ruckus and maybe getting depressed about the whole outlook of your business – instead of that – you were completely calm and you were just able to take the proper action to go on with your business.
Can you imagine the level of difference that could have, and then those things stack up. That’s one event, because after that crazy business problem, what do you do you go home and then you’ve got a problem at home with your relationship and then what do you do after that? You might go drinking to the bar and you’ve got a problem there and then, on the weekend you’ve got some other problem, and so the stuff stacks up and your life is full of problems. Think about what you could do if those problems were dissolved?
You can dissolve them with enough mindfulness.
Start applying this yourself. This is so powerful and it’s going to be tricky at first, because you’re going to to forget. You’ll forget to be mindful of the fact you’re eating a meal. You’ll forget to be mindful of the fact that you’re walking out the door and you’re certainly going to forget to be mindful of the fact that you’re pissed off at somebody or that you’re sad or that you’re depressed or that you’re afraid. You’re gonna forget these things, and so you’re going to Identify with it and that’s when your life goes downhill because you suffer and your actions then reflect your suffering and actions reflecting suffering lead to very, very, very poor results, not to mention that you’re not calm! You are not happy because you’re suffering all the time. Why do you want that?
The last point is, if you really want to develop more and more mindfulness, the most practical thing you can do besides the little exercises that I gave you here is to start meditation. Try for 20 minutes every day. I recommend you commit for the rest of your life to doing that. Find the time, fix your schedule, so you can do that every day.
Apply these things and leave your comments.