By Maria Fontana ~
So far today, have you brought kind awareness to your:
Thoughts? Heart? Body? None of the Above?
First off, congratulations on your decision to enhance your personal growth through mindfulness! This is something you are doing for yourself and your well-being so make a commitment to schedule formal times to practice these exercises just as you would other important appointments. It is easy to lose enthusiasm and dedication to a new practice when obstacles arise and daily tasks begin to get in the way so it is important to figure out what is working and what is not so that you can adjust your practice as needed.
Before beginning mindfulness practices, it is important to understand the concept of mindfulness and what the practice of mindfulness can mean for you in your efforts towards personal growth.
Mindfulness practice often embodies eight attitudes. These attitudes contribute to the growth and flourishing of your mind, heart and body so it is important to understand and recognize the defining points of the eight attitudes of mindfulness listed on the next page.
⦁ Learner’s mind – Seeing things as a visitor in a foreign land, everything is new and curious.
⦁ Nonjudgmental – Becoming impartial, without any labels of right or wrong or good or bad. Simply allowing things to be.
⦁ Acknowledgment – Recognizing things as they are.
⦁ Settled – Being comfortable in the moment and content where you are.
⦁ Composed – Being equanimous and in control with compassion and insight.
⦁ Letting be – Letting things be as they are with no need to change them.
⦁ Self-reliant – Deciding on your own, from your own experiences, what is true or not.
⦁ Self-compassionate – Loving yourself as you are with no criticism or self-reproach.
Take a moment to examine these attitudes in regard to your current state of mind. Write down the attitudes you wish to cultivate more of in your mindfulness practice.
Once you begin to recognize the eight attitudes of mindfulness, it becomes much easier for you to put these attitudes of mindfulness — learner’s mind, nonjudgmental, acknowledgment, settled, composed, letting be, self-reliant, and self-compassionate — in your activities and with other people.
Choose a task, such as baking a cake, and practice the attitudes of mindfulness during the task. See the example below:
⦁ Begin the task with a learner’s mind, experience the texture of the ingredients as you gather them for preparing your cake.
⦁ Whether you are baking from scratch or from a box, do so without any judgments about yourself, the cake or your cooking ability.
⦁ Acknowledge the fact that you are self-reliant—that by baking this cake you are caring for yourself and others.
⦁ Practice self-compassion by knowing that you are doing your best and do not get discouraged if the cake does not turn out the way you want it to.
⦁ If your mind tries to rush ahead to the next baking step, settle down and realize that you are in the present moment and bring your mind back to the task.
⦁ Watch the cake while it bakes, as the batter rises and forms, and realize you are letting it be, letting the natural course take place and progress without any interference.
Notice the difference in how your mind and body feel when these attitudes are present as opposed to when they are not. Try to expand this practice into other areas of your daily life and see if it makes a difference in your relationships. Write down any changes you notice as you begin to practice the attitudes of mindfulness in your daily life.