As we continue our journey in mindfulness, we were asked last week to let our hands rest. This practice resounded with several of you, especially those of you who use your hands every day as part of your job. As I write this, my right wrist is starting to ache. A good sign that I need to take a break and give my hands a rest. Because we use our hands frequently during the day, it is easy to forget and neglect them. So be mindful of your hands. Be kind to your hands and let them rest.
This Week’s Practice: Saying Yes
Hmm, I’m already finding this practice a challenge. This week we are asked to say yes to everyone and everything that happens. The purpose behind this practice is to recognize if the impulse to disagree is really necessary. Is it possible to simply nod or be silent and pleasant?
How often do you take a stance that is negative or oppositional? When someone is speaking, are you aware of your thoughts forming defenses and counterarguments? Can you resist the desire to disagree if the issue is not critical? How often do you automatically think “Oh no” during a typical day?
When you are asked a question or are having a conversation with someone, become aware of your body language (tensing muscles, crossed arms), thoughts (“I don’t agree with….”), speech (“That’s a stupid idea”), or actions (rolling the eyes.) These may all be automatic, negative responses or reactions. Can you turn these around into positive reactions? Or perhaps no reaction (ie: the “silent and pleasant” comment above.)
As Dr. Bays states: “Not expressing opposition helps us to let go of self-centered views and see that our personal opinion is actually not so important after all. Saying yes can be energizing, since habitual resistance is a persistent drain on our life energy.”
So this week, try saying yes (if the situation is not dangerous to you or others), or nod pleasantly, or be silent, pleasant and neutral. Make note of what happens.
Reflection: If men would consider not so much wherein they differ, as wherein they agree, there would be far less of uncharitableness and angry feeling.- Joseph Addison