the polar bear thing

The brilliant thing is that when you engage with life on the mindful level you experience more of life. Even in the mundane things. It is not that dishwashing becomes a Zen experience every time, it can be just a chore some days too but living through the chore (as well as the treats) gifts a sort of mind control, your returning to the smell of the ylang ylang and lavender detergent and/or the warm dish water focuses and sharpens the mind/body/spirit – because it brings you into the now – into your alert self.

Learning to get there more often means that instead of a fantasy ‘happy place’ to hide in a bubble away from your troubles you can confront your troubles with your full attention – your full intention – your full potential. Going to your alert zone more frequently strengthens its power, gets the grip on reality tighter than a handshake from a vote garbing politician. It puts you in charge.

Enhancing that state of mind and getting to switch it on when needed means self empowerment – so that when emotions or stress arises you can return to your self and not get swept away by it all. The overwhelming bits of life will not be so overwhelming; or better we can make the overwhelming experiences be the awe-inspiring ones not the devastating/distracting ones. Those thoughts that arise are not suppressed they are noticed and moved on from, there is no judgement. Just acknowledgement and acceptance.

It is this trick – and I really want you to try hard – it is important to focus and act accordingly – there is only one thing I am asking – Do not think of a polar bear – Do not under any circumstance picture in your mind a polar bear. Go!

Ok so what did you do – same as everybody else, your mind pulled out the polar snapshots. Your brain can not stop thoughts, but you can chose to not linger. If I had said look there is a polar bear, you may or may not have glanced, you may or may not have given it some though, you may have looked –noticed and acknowledged – and then continued about your business. That is how mindfulness works – Ok there is a polar bear. Next. Ok I am feeling a bit a sad. Next. Ok I am anxious or feeling pain. Next. No need to dwell on anything. Next.

This does not mean you become flippant or deadened, this simply means that you can filter out the noise and nonsense – so that instead of distractively thinking about the to do list or the hard done by list, you can recognise that the polar bear is picking up pace and you can remember how to start the ski mobile.

quick mindfulness exercise. Follow your inhale in and your exhale out for a few moments – say 5 times. Then repeat but in it, feel calm and in control, your breath is life, you are alive, you are in control of being calm right now. This is refreshing (revitalizing) and relaxing you too. Just focus on the breath – in and out. Life at its simplest. That’s a mindful meditation 101.

Ok now lets graduate. Do that again get into the breathing alertly zone. do it for while longer then When you have a thought crop up that disrupts the focused attentiveness just notice that you have had it and let it go, return to your breathing and your attention on that. Repeating this practice over days and weeks improves your cognitive function and gives skills beneficial for the rest of your life – it teaches the brain to not linger on thoughts. It strengthens your capacity to drop negative or repetitive thoughts. It gives you options.

When every you engage in a mindful practice – each time thoughts come back you counter by just coming back to awareness of what you are actually doing. When you are emotional just notice the emotion – not trying to deepen it and not trying to push it away – just come back to awareness of what you are doing. let the negative be and you can just be. Undisturbed by it all. Unhindered in how you really want to live.

Your mind has the tendency to drift, that’s ok and if the aimless thoughts are not taking you to dark plavces or judgement then that’s ok too but when you need to call upon your focus then through mindfulness, If you drift you will catch it and come back to the task in hand. This new efficiency is all about YOU getting the most from life. From your Life.

Pain – emotional or physical – can catch you unawares but awareness through mindfulness can help you catch that thought before it becomes a deep feeling and triggered behaviour or notice that pain with our recourse to frustration, anger or anxiety. Yes there is the polar bear but ‘vroom vroommm baby I’m outta here’. Next!

for more mindful and positive psychology techniques

About The Holistic Gardener

author of wellness books, columnist, keynote speaker.
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