A New Perspective to be Mindful

Have you noticed that, when you visit a particular setting for the first time, either a new town, a new house, or a new park, that the first impression is always different than the impression you have on the same place a few minutes later?

I think this happens because our expectations increase once we become more familiarized with the environment.   And the more expectations we have, the more we are distracted by our thoughts.  But when we are  faced with a new environment, we are more likely to stop thinking and observe more.  Which leads to mindfulness.

I don’t know about you, but I  realized that when I make the attempt to perceive a familiar environment as a new and unfamiliar setting , I am inclined to doing mindfulness.  I discovered this when I visit a new setting.  Somehow it changes my perspective the more I become familiar with it.  When visiting a new place, there are less expectations and, therefore, less thinking.  There is more observation and attention to details.  There is more accepting.   And time seems to slow down.

When we are more familiarized with the same place, our expectations increase, and so does our thinking .  There is less observation and less attention to details.  Time will then seem to go faster.

When I try to focus on the details of my surroundings, such as the street and the trees, and try to perceive it as a new experience  , time will seem to slow down .  It is the same as living in the here and now.  Being more mindful.

When it is evening, I try to imagine it being morning.

Or when it is windy and rainy outside, I perceive it as being in a tropical island (which I am not but I wish I were.)

It is almost as if I can change the perception of my surroundings in order to make it soothing.

And be more mindful.

 

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Prone to suffering

Every time we say ” I want …” and then you can fill in the blank,  we are prone to suffering.  Every time we even think that we want or wish something, we are setting ourselves up to suffering.

By suffering I mean the experience of disillusionment and disappointment.  We may feel sad, angry , or frustrated.  We put our hopes and expectations so high that we end up falling down .  Hard.

This is because we don’t always have or obtain what we wish for or what we desire.  So we end up suffering by wishing to have what we don’t always have. cEven with the littlest thing , such as a particular kind of clothing,  a way of life, or any possession, will open up the possibility of some kind ofdisappointment  at the end.  It is inevitable.

So what am I saying?  Am I saying that we should not  wish or want anything to avoid suffering? This is not about shoulds or should not.  It is about recognizing that whenever we suffer or feel  disillusioned or disappointed, it is because of an underlying wish or want that has not been satisfied.  If we define ourselves based on our possessions and accomplishments, we are fooling ourselves.  We are creating our own delusions.  We are setting up ourselves to suffering.

Are we entities that only live to obtain what we desire?  I read somewhere that true happiness is wanting what I already have.
I understand  that our basic instinct is to survive, to prevent death.   But this is based on needs,  not wants.  If we are hungry or cold, and do not eat or find shelter, then we suffer physically.  This is natural and necessary to survive.  But when it comes to possession, success, fame, and other “artificial” desires, then it is not based on survival.   It leads us to disappointment.  To suffering.

Never  Mindful 

I have never been completely mindful. Most of my life I have identified with my thoughts, perceptions, and assumptions.  This blog is mainly about my ever ongoing  journey into a more mindful lifestyle.

As I write this post, I am waiting in a car shop for my van’s tire to be repaired.  I can try to be mindful , but it is hard to do with a TV blasting in front of me, cars driving by the window , and hundreds of thoughts about all the things going on in my life, including work , the bills, appointments for my child, etc. It is almost an endless ordeal when I try to quiet down my mind.  It is almost like trying to stop water from falling from a waterfall .  It is also difficult to take deep breaths and relax my muscles when most of what I do is tense up and take shallow breaths.

But I still recognize the importance of managing my time wisely and continue to try to do mindfulness .

Two weeks ago, I went with my family to pick up strawberries at a local farm . First I was hesitant about it.  But while I walked on he farm and picked up fresh strawberries , I began to appreciate this simple yet important task.  I was being mindful .  My family and I enjoyed it.

I have also been able to be mindful whenever I draw.  It is relaxing and enjoyable .  I try to be aware of my surrounding whenever I see myself having to wait for something.  It is an opportunity to be in the here and now.

So even though I have not been completely and fully mindful, I plan to continue to be more aware of the present moment. To be gradually more mindful.

Feeding the ego

How did you feed the ego today..?

Did you make sure that everyone has noticed your skills by overemphasizing them ?

Or did you try to put someone else down to hide your own limitations?

Perhaps you made fun of others simply because you don’t fully understand them.

Or maybe you hide your feelings from others to prevent being hurt again.

Did you try to make other laugh to ensure you are accepted or that you belong  ?

Did you dress up flamboyantly so that others overlook your undesired image?

Did you mistreat or abuse others to hide your own weaknesses ?

Or maybe you pretend to agree with someone else’s inappropriate statement to avoid bring ridiculed?

Did you complete reading this list of self-evaluating questions , or did you stop reading because of fear of exposing your ego to your real self?

Looking at the BIG picture

Trying to look at the big picture is a skill that I learned a while back.  It is simply trying to see everything in a different perspective and considering all the possibilities.

The other night I was looking up at the clear sky… and contemplated on all the stars…. and thought about the inmense space and distance between us and the other stars.   And the distance between each star.  We are like a grain of sand in the middle of an ocean.

When I also look at the sky in the middle of the day, I contemplate on the clouds and the birds, and remind myself of how futile it is to worry so much about trivial things in this life.   We can simply be thankful for the air that we breath, the sun that gives us light, the clouds that brings us rain, and all the gifts that nature indiscriminatorily  and graciously brings to us on a daily basis.

So when I start focusing on small stuff, such as when is the next payment for my insurance due, or why is that other person treating me  unfairly, or what would be the next time I can take a vacation; it would benefit me instead to look at the big picture and consider the fact that I am in the middle of a humongous vacuum and we are all pretty much on the same boat.

It also helps alleviate anxiety and stress…. Significantly.

How else can we look at the Big Picture?

Adjusting my thoughts

 

If I can recognize that  I am feeling     anxious because of the thoughts that I am having at the moment… Then why would I not determine how I feel by changing my thoughts …?

Let me explain… I am having thoughts  about my mother’s husband possible getting progressively sick with a cold and losing his life (he is of advanced  age) and this thought is causing anxiety.  Not because it is actually happening, but because I am thinking about the possibility.  In the event that it does occur,  couldn’t I also adjust my thoughts so that I don’t feel as much anxiety?

I am convinced that feelings are caused by my thoughts . So, whatever I am thinking , “good” or “bad” , will determine my feeling.

Is it possible to train myself so that I can feel  whatever I choose to think about? If it is possible, then it will take practice.  Meditation, yoga, and a lot mindfulness.

I will let you know how I do  with this new task.

Living the Moment…. Now

Living the moment…. right now…   Nothing else matters.. If I remain in the present.

This is the first post of this new blog.  I decided to start this new blog fresh.   The existence that I have experienced has lead me to this point in life.

These are the things I have learned to cherish and appreciate:

Life is what I make of it.. in my mind.

Simplicity is the key to happiness.

Wanting what I already have is also happiness.

Being in the present creates inner peace.

Mindfulness is the act of being in the present.

Resistance and expectations bring suffering.

Acceptance brings relief.

Meditation and yoga are wonderful activities.

Staying close to loved ones is healthy.

Letting go of the past is also healthy.

Refraining from focusing on the future is calming.

Living the moment is true life.

Until next time….