“No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of worry can change the future.”
Image from Unspalsh by Lesly Juarez
The practices of guilt and worry are actually habits we form through our lives.
Close your eyes and look back in time at your upbringing under the influence of friends, family, school, religious institutions, the economy and the media, who always thrive on drama.
Take a few minutes to look also around your world as it exists today, and into the future to see what conversations or inner chatter occupies some or much of your thoughts.
Given that this line of thinking often results in frustration, exhaustion, uneasiness, and upset, ask yourself: How does my thinking this way help?
Assuming your answer to the question is “It Doesn’t,” what alternative strategies can you try to reduce or eliminate guilt and worry from your life?
“Everything comes to pass; nothing comes to stay.”
—Matthew Flickstein, teacher of insight meditation
What do weekends, holidays, vacations, and happy times have in common?
What do colds, the flu, Mondays, and boring meetings have in common?
What does the first list have in common with the second?
If your answer was that they all come and go, do not last, or that, in mindfulness terms, they are impermanent, you are correct.
Whether you are happy that certain events occurred, or are sad they have come to an end, the law of impermanence is something of which you can be certain.
How can you apply the law of impermanence in your personal or professional worlds in the days and weeks ahead? How might that maximize the Ups and minimize the Downs of life?
“The more you eat, the less flavor. The less you eat, the more flavor.”
Image from Unsplash by Kawin Harasai
The next time you sit down to enjoy one of your favorite meals, try this:
For the first ten minutes, eat only three to five mouthfuls, paying particular note to the texture and flavor of each bite you mindfully chew.
Next, take a “Thanksgiving Size” portion of the same meal, and chow away. Make sure you go beyond your level of satiety to the point of moderate discomfort. Pay particular attention to your awareness of texture and flavor.
Where and how would the practice of eating less in a more mindful manner bring you greater pleasure and perhaps a bit smaller waistline as a bonus?
“Speak when you are angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”
—Ambrose Bierce, 18th Century American Writer and Civil War Soldier
Image from Flickr by Sid
When was the last time you lost your temper and really let someone have it? Perhaps you even rehearsed your speech and shared your seemingly justified attack articulately with equally practiced volume and gestures.
What happened after the initial “feel better” burst of adrenaline and getting things off your chest?
If you are like many, you may have experienced considerable fallout, and repercussions much like the aftershocks of an earthquake.
Where would counting to ten or a hundred, or simply holding your tongue more frequently, dramatically reduce the number of regretful interactions you experience?
“Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom.”
—Bhante Henepolo Gunaratana, Sri Lankan Buddhist monk
We’ve all heard the phrase, “The choices we make make us.”
Do you agree? Perhaps if we were all able to make even better choices, we would experience the freedom and fulfillment of an even more wonderful life.
Today’s quote suggests that through increased mindfulness and greater self awareness we can all find time to make better, more discerning choices about how we spend this precious resource.
How can and will you invest a bit more time on a daily basis to strengthen and build your mindfulness muscle?
If you are new to such practices, consider starting with 5 minutes in the morning or evening in a practice such as meditation, gratitude reflection, or some form of life review, to enhance this skill.