In my English class we are reading Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan For Finding Peace in a Frantic World. It is a really great read and I highly suggest it! It provided some amazing statistics on how much mindfulness meditation can really change your life: memory improves, helps create more fulfilling relationships, reduces stress, reduces the impact of chronic pain and cancer, can help reduce drug and alcohol dependence, and can help your immune system.

The main definition of mindfulness as the book and as I see it is "observation without criticism" or being aware of oneself and one's feelings and thoughts. It is being aware of yourself, but not criticizing yourself. We have the control to decide what thoughts to take action on. We are not defined by our thoughts, rather the thoughts that we act on. The first chapter makes the point that there are "deep wellsprings of peace and contentment living inside us all, no matter how trapped and distraught we might feel. They're just waiting to be liberated from the cage that our frantic and relentless way of life has crafted for them." This excerpt really resonated with me. It kind of relates to the blog post I wrote recently about living in the moment and not rushing through your life. We are all caught up and overwhelmed in our chaotic lives that we forget to step back and slow down and enjoy life as it happens. In chapter three, the author discusses the difference between "Doing" and "Being" modes of our minds. "Doing" is sort of like autopilot. You're not living, you're sitting down and watching it happen. In Doing mode, we get lost in our heads thinking. We forget to stay in the moment and live. In Doing mode, we "time travel" with our minds. We "re-live past events and re-feel their pain, and we pre-live future disasters and so pre-feel their impact." This is a line that I relate to on a deep level. I find myself lost in thoughts of what if? When I'm bored in class or waiting for a friend or trying to go to sleep I constant think about the past or the future. Does that boy really like me? Am I going to get an A on that paper? I relive conversations and think: what if I'd said something differently? Instead of being utterly and completely in the present, I time travel and think. Instead of appreciating the journey and going with the flow, I find myself thinking ahead. Instead of appreciating the ten minute walk to class, I think about the weekend...what will I wear? Who am I going to go out with? What party are we going to? I forget to live and instead I skip ahead. This is a mindset that I am really trying to break. I texted my mom yesterday told her about a situation with a boy asking for her advice. But then I realized that I shouldn't be worried about it. If he likes me or it's meant to be, it will. Why not just live in the moment and appreciate every second and have conversations and be eighteen while I can, and not worry so much about social situations? 

I am trying to do small meditations every day and every time I do, I feel so rejuvenated. I find my thoughts racing around in my head and jumbled up. It makes me stressed. So when I step back and meditate, I slow down and forget the stress. It has already been so beneficial and I totally recommend it. I found a video online that's a three hour meditative soundtrack and it's so calming. Instead of listening to the usual rap and pop while doing homework, I listen to this and it's super calming.

xoxo

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