Namaste dear mindfulness readers…and all readers, of course.
Last week we started again with our mindfulness practice. We restarted with listening-listening like a sponge. That is, being completely present for the person speaking. Leaving distraction behind-not reading email while someone talked, not texting, not watching TV, and most challenging, not letting our mind wander while someone talked to us.
How did you do with this practice?
I think this is a very important practice and a very challenging one. We have become so used to doing more than one thing at a time that it is very difficult to set all things aside except for one task-to listen completely.
This Week’s Practice: Appreciation
This week’s practice is another favorite. This week we are asked to stop what we are doing during the day and take time to appreciate one thing in that moment. It could be something about yourself, another person, the environment, etc. The task is to consciously identify something, anything, that we appreciate in that moment.
This exercise is different from writing affirmations and reciting them. Affirmations are a good start to creating a more positive outlook. But, personally, I still find them to be a bit, um, unbelievable. They can feel “hokey” to me. And believe me, I’ve been working with affirmations for several years. I “get” what they’re supposed to do. I’m just not sure how much I believe in what I write as an affirmation.
With appreciation, or gratitude, if you prefer, you are investigating. We stop for a few moments and have to look, listen, and feel. What is cause for appreciation in this moment. (As I sit here, I’m really appreciating my repaired laptop that is now working much better than it did a few days ago.)
It is easy to appreciate positive experiences, such as having food in our belly. But what about when someone we dislike or are jealous of is given something that we want for ourselves, such as an award or public acclaim? Can we feel joy in their joy? This is not so easy. I personally continue to work hard on appreciating another person’s success or recognition.
This week, stop what you are doing for a few minutes and take time to appreciate. Take time to be grateful for one thing during that moment.
Reflection: We have no right to ask when a sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every joy that comes our way. -Unknown
We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. -Fredrick Keonig