Mindfulness. This word has become a buzz word lately. It boils down to being an observer of your thoughts. Easier said than done, huh? I try to meditate every morning and I often catch myself thinking about how I need to do X or want to buy Y.
These aren’t very “meditative” thoughts. But let’s be honest, to have these thoughts is to be human. We all struggle with that inner critic. That constant hamster wheel of judging yourself and other people. Why is she always late to work or why does he think he’s the love expert?
The goal of mindfulness is not to make that voice go away. It’s just to recognize you aren’t that voice and that voice isn’t you. Headspace (a meditation app) describes thoughts as passing cars and you are standing on the sidewalk. You don’t need to become a traffic conductor. Just let the cars pass.
I like to visualize thoughts as clouds passing overhead. Can you imagine trying to stop clouds? Not to mention that it’s impossible because their water vapor. But what’s the point?
Now I am by no means suggesting that this practice is easy. Or that once you learn it, you never need to do it again. It is just a muscle to work.
When self criticism comes up, simply visualize it as a passing cloud or car. And when you’re mind wanders to your laundry list, return to this visual. Again and again. Without shaming or judging yourself in the process. Because, hey, that’s the whole point, right!
So what thoughts are you spending energy on? And can you imagine how much energy you’d save if you weren’t doing this? Trying to control traffic is exhausting!
I’m by no means a master at this. Some days I find it easy to redirect myself to the present. Other times I’m filled with exhaustion and frustration. It’s not necessarily about being super good or fast at it.
I have actually found the most rewarding part of this practice is the knowledge that I get to choose. I can choose to get lost in the traffic or clouds. I can also choose to watch them pass by. In this choice, I then have power of how I spend my energy.
And I’m all about learning how to live more in the present moment.
What about you?