“Meditation applies the brakes to the mind.”
Image from Unsplash by Jan Kopřiva
Over the past several years I have become increasingly fascinated by my meditation practice and other mindfulness activities.
In my experience, meditation has never stomped on the brakes to bring my mind to a complete stop.
It does, however, help me tap the brakes to slow things down, so that I may take in my inner and outer worlds at a calmer and more peaceful pace.
Where might meditation and other alternative mindfulness practices help you slow down your mind to more fully experience your days at a more optimal pace?
Awaken to each new day. Be mindful that it is a miracle.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Davide Cantelli
Many of us live our lives on auto pilot. We start our days by pushing the button of our programing, proceeding from task to task with little thought except to move to the next and the next.
Perhaps this is why we so enjoy the novelty of travel, in which each day brings new sights, sounds, and tastes for us to experience. Instead of having to leave our home and communities to see what’s new and different, maybe we can tune our senses to their miracle settings. Maybe we can delight in the wonders around us we often miss out of habit.
How can you be far more mindful of the miracles around you as you navigate your days? How would turning on and tuning in to your super senses help you embrace those special moments of living, without ever leaving home?
How often do you play thought dominoes where one thought cascades into another and another?
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Bradyn Trollip
When was the last time you saw a domino exhibition? How long did it take to topple all the tiles? How many hours or even days did it take to set up?
Domino experts know all too well that one slip of the hand can destroy much of their effort well before showtime. Given this possibility, they almost always place blocking structures to stop the cascade of tiles to limit the damage.
How can you use your own mindfulness efforts as tools to slow or stop the domino thinking that can sometimes topple your days?
Mindfulness and concentration are interdependent. Concentration is the magnifying glass and mindfulness is the light.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Stephen Kraakmo
How fired up have you been feeling lately? Who are the people and what are the things that spark your interest and grab your attention? To what degree are you fully engaged and focused on aspects of your life that light up your heart and soul?
Think back to a time when you first used a magnifying glass. How long did it take you to learn that they could not only enlarge the objects you were viewing, but also focus the sun’s light to make fire?
How mindful are you as you go about your typical day?
What is the wattage of your awareness lighting your path?
How often do you take the time to truly concentrate on your relationships and daily activities to set your life ablaze?
Where and how could greater mindfulness and concentration fire up and brighten up your life?
“Re-examine all that you have been told. Dismiss that which insults your soul.”
—Walt Whitman, 19th Century American poet, essayist and journalist
Image from Unsplash by Markus Winkler
In our journey toward greater mindfulness and self-awareness it can be helpful to stop and re-examine our own perspectives and views of the world around us.
Where and when did you first become aware of specific beliefs?
What factors had you embrace them as your own?
To what degree do you remain open to examining your thinking and not simply accepting what you’ve been told to believe and how to act?
Just because we have done something a particular way for many years does not necessarily mean it is the way to go when you have new information to consider.
What are some of your current beliefs that no longer serve you? How might revisiting your thinking through a more soulful lens help you live a more fulfilling and meaningful life?
“We have two lives, and the second one begins when we realize we only have one.”
—Attributed to Confucius
Image from Medium.com
Groundhog Day with Bill Murray is one of my favorite movies. Beyond its humor is the central message of waking up to our lives anew each day.
Take a close look at your life. Examine each day of the past week, month, or even the past year or so. Can you see each moment with clarity, or do things look more like a train speeding by?
I’ve practiced a daily meditation over the past five years. I’ve found this simple — yet often not easy — daily discipline has slowed me down considerably. I have become more mindful and aware of how I navigate my days.
How and in what ways can you apply the wisdom of today’s quote to realize and not miss any possibilities in your precious life?
“It’s amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.”
—John Guare, American Playwright
Image from Unsplash by Leonardo Yip
Time travel is not just possible. Today’s quote suggests that we all do it daily in our thoughts. Through forms of mindfulness such as meditation or leisurely walks in nature we can view our thinking mind with greater perspective and objectivity.
How often do you review or replay the events of yesterday with a critical eye of what worked and what didn’t? How self-satisfied or perhaps upset do you feel about various events, efforts, and interactions? How easy is it to let these thoughts go, be present, and look toward the future you intend to create?
The power of a vision is miraculous in that it pulls us like a tractor beam in a sci-fi space adventure. This gravitational attractive force is a critical element of self-leadership—and leadership in general—when we are intentional about thinking and speaking about a bright future.
How can and will your own self-leadership efforts to speak and create many better tomorrows make up for any yesterdays that didn’t go as you hoped? What would be the value of doing this exercise on a daily basis?
“If you add a little to a little, and then do it again, soon that little shall be much.”
—Hesiod, ancient Greek poet
I recently reviewed Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday. During the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, I wanted to feel that doing what appeared to be little or even nothing might prove beneficial beyond saving myself or others from exposure to the virus.
Ryan recommends little steps of stillness related to the domains of body, mind, and spirit. His examples include the story of Winston Churchill taking up bricklaying during a very demanding time of intense work and stress. The slow process of mixing mortar and stacking bricks was just the thing he needed to keep his body busy while allowing his mind to unwind.
Where might the process of introducing small mind, body, or spiritual activities/rituals to your day result in much more than you might expect?
Feel free to reply to this post with the practices that work best for you.
“What are you secretly working on today?”
Image from Unsplash by Valery Sysoev
What do you dream or daydream about? What have you noticed about your wandering mind? Where does it go?
How much time do you spend shifting your focus from the matters at hand, seemingly pulled by invisible forces in new directions?
What would happen if you shifted your perspective to one in which dreaming and daydreaming were your job, and you took extra time and care to focus there more consistency?
Where might exercising your subconscious mind produce many wonderful and surprising benefits?
How might the practices of greater mindfulness and capturing these secret journeys in a notebook expand your efforts to work in new productive and meaningful ways?
Consider sharing these secret work efforts with a family member, friend, colleague, mentor or coach to gain additional social support. Of course, at this point it won’t be a secret any more.
“On the other side of the door of uncertainty is a room of wisdom.”
—Chip Conley, American hospitality entrepreneur, author, and speaker
I recently reviewed Humble Inquiry by Edgar Schein. The subtitle is: The Gentle Art of Asking instead of Telling, which as a coach, had a great deal of appeal to me. Some key take-aways include:
- Asking questions to which you do not already know the answer, and building a relationship on sincere interest in the other person.
- When we tell instead of ask, we can sometimes offend or demean others.
- Barriers to humble inquiry include status, rank, and the roles we play in our professional and personal communities.
We can all practice this important skill by slowing down, becoming more mindful and aware of our interactions and our surroundings.
Consider exploring Humble Inquiry – The Gentle Art of More Asking and Less Telling as a door to greater wisdom for yourself.