“With mindfulness, instead of reacting, we can respond with spacious clarity, purpose, firmness, and compassion”
– Jack Kornfield
As many of us might feel right now, it’s easy to react, but not always easy to respond. So it’s very helpful to have some go-to skills that keep us nourished, balanced and calm, especially in a challenging environment. Every challenge coming our way then becomes a chance to grow further, to discover something new.
Our reactions come from how our mind currently perceives the world, so if we want to change our reactions, we need to change our perceptions. Meditation is the familiarization with very effective skills towards this end.
Some basic ones are:
- Focused attention
- Loving kindness meditation
- Open presence
If we train our mind in focused attention, it is more likely to be able to stay where we want it to. Usually our mind is very busy and chatty and not always particularly supportive of our goals. The more we can be intentionally mindful, the more we train a new way of responding to our inner and outer environment.
Loving kindness meditation
In the same way, the habit of a loving and kind response is a kind of training. We also have the possibility of reacting out of dislike and rejection. Depending on which mode we typically follow, we create either the first or the second as our go-to reaction. If we train on a daily basis to generate a compassionate and empathic response, then this will be more likely to show up as a spontaneous reaction towards ourselves and others.
The more we live busy and stressed, always following our interests, keeping our mind active and entertained even in moments of rest, the more our mind will race all the time. We are so used to being identified with our mental activity that we always take our thoughts seriously. Then, even if we want to rest, our mind is still just going about its normal busy activity, and this keeps us nervous and tense. This happens because we never allow it to stop doing and to rest back into its true nature, which is very spacious and open. But if we allow ourselves to rest regularly for some time in this open presence, we will notice that our mind naturally changes.
Most of us feel like it’s very difficult to change how we are, how we react and how our thoughts keep running. But if we believe that our mind is like a muscle that can be trained in different ways, then it becomes clear how we are training it to “work” the way it does right now every single day. It’s up to us to change its daily training, our daily familiarization.
Easily we might think that we just don’t have the time or energy to live our lives in a different way. But if we could increase our understanding of how to change our training, we can find the faith to do things differently and begin to notice how we feel better.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could experience our life and our world from a calm and resourced place—being able to naturally respond from spacious clarity, purpose, firmness, and compassion?
We are all traveling on our very unique path, but these qualities already lie within each human mind. Let’s familiarize ourselves with these qualities together. More specifics during our next weeks.
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