Mindfulness Blog 2: How to get started

Following on from our previous post Mindfulness - What is it we really wanted to know how to get started. So we have come up with four areas to help set the scene and lay the foundation for Mindfulness in our lives…

Mala Earth Mindfulness May

1. Explore Your Motivation

As we all know determining our motivations helps to create a commitment, and having a commitment will eventually convert rewards down the track!

So let’s explore our motivations and begin to clarify why we are curious about the path of Mindfulness. Why Mindfulness? Grab a pen or your smartphone and consider what it is it you are looking for. Write it down, single words, statements or a brief sentence about why you are here and what you want out of it. Who will benefit from this? You? Loved ones? Colleagues? Friends? 

These, words and statements begin to form your true motivations and ultimate vision i.e. “I am curious about Mindfulness so I can discover ways to calm my mind to find more peace and space between my thoughts. I am committed to discovering and exploring these tools because if I feel calmer, I know I will be a kinder and more loving person in my interactions with those I love.”

Once we have a clear understanding of our vision and motivations it then becomes about self-discipline and delivering on these commitments.

A few ways to really cement this is to share your commitment with your partner or closest friends. Ask them to keep you accountable but also setup a framework to keep yourself accountable. Setup a calendar reminder, write post-it notes and stick them on your mirror or by the stereo in your car.

2. Show me some Attitude Sista!

Plain and simple, our attitude affects any outcome no matter how sparkly and amazing the commitment and motivations are. Think of a time you wanted to create some change, maybe a new years resolution and in typical fashion you fell off the bandwagon three weeks later… Did your attitude shift..? Was the internal dialogues something like “stuff this, no one really cares”… We can pretty much guarantee from that attitudes like this can shift your commitment causing your motivations to spiral down. We all know how it goes… except with Mindfulness we can begin to recognise our patterns and we have the opportunity to develop more helpful attitudes like:

  • Acceptance, yup we all fall off the horse
  • Patience, take a breath and get back on
  • Seeing Afresh, it’s all ok we know we’ve been here before but we can see things a little differently this time
  • Finding Trust, knowing you have what it takes
  • Cultivating Curiosity, by exploring discovering investigating
  • Letting Go, does it really matter? In the whole scheme of things? Birth, Death? How big is it really?
  • Developing Kindness, for you, yup you!!! Be nice, be kind, you’re pretty darn awesome at the end of the day and you're all you’ve got!

3. Cultivate Heartfeltness

As we learnt from Jon Kabat Zinn in the previous Mindfulness blog post 'Mindfulness - What is it' the word for the heart and the word for the mind in Asian languages is the same word. So when we hear Mindfulness we can hear Heartfulness… To break this down simply, Mindfulness is when we become aware of our thoughts and the space in-between. That space inbetween becomes about feeling and this feeling is ‘Heartfulness’. This feeling provides us permission reach into the depths of the gentleness of our heart, to create stillness.

We have found a few ways to cultivate more heartfulness in our everyday:

  • Develop an attitude of Gratitude as we covered in 3 above! One idea is to take a note either first thing in the morning or last thing at night of what you are grateful for that day. Even if it keeps you accountable, share on social media.
  • Let go through forgiveness, we all have hurt, unfair situations but holding on to that grudge or injustice really only causes you pain and suffering, so go on Forgive and move on.
  • Check out what Attitudes you are carrying that are unhelpful… like...
    • Taking solution or problem solving shortcuts
    • Perfectionism

 4. Human Being vs Human Doing

Do you know the difference of being vs doing? Think about it, busy busy busy busy……… busy….. this is all we hear, with our family, friends, colleagues. ‘I’m snowed under’. ‘I’m insanely busy’. But when does it stop? When do we give our selves a break from our phones, replying to emails, scanning facebook, running to meetings, racing between a million different deliverables and not stopping until our heads hit the pillow… This state isn't just reserved for adults! Can you think of a time perhaps visiting a child who couldn’t peel their eyes off the iPad to say hi… scary isn’t it!

So what is ‘human being’ if we are all so busy all the time…? We have found that 'being' is simply in our nature… to play, explore, to feel and be creative, to be in relationship, and feel emotions of joy, love and connection when we are in our ‘being’ state we seek higher knowledge, meditate and hang out and we truly thrive ‘being’ in nature!

I’m sure you can think of a time where you lost the hours because you were in the zone of being… This ‘in the zone’ state of mind is called ‘flow’ by psychologist Mikhail Csíkszentmihályi where you experience:

  • Feeling at one with the world
  • You let go of your sense of an individual and any worries and problems
  • You’re completely focused
  • You feel very satisfied with what you’re doing
  • You’re happy, although you don’t really notice it at the time because you’re so engrossed in whatever you’re doing
So now we know the difference between ‘doing’ and ‘being’ it’s all about creating a balance between the two because we all know we can’t all sit in a cave or frolic in the fields just going about being! Keeping in mind the balance between both states can never look the same for everyone, it’s about exploring your needs vs wants in the doing side of the equation and incorporating enough being time into your life to create harmony and balance, here are 4 steps to get you started:
  1. Acknowledge + Examine, get honest how much are you doing vs being? 90/10, 80/20? what are your true needs vs wants?
  2. Set Goals + Plan Tasks, what are a few simple goals that come out of acknowledging and examining your doing vs being? Which ones are you going to act on this week or month?
  3. Reflect + Prepare, how does it feel? In your body and mind? Now let your goals flourish, share them with your family or friends, setup space to meditate or make that date to get outside
  4. Empower + Connect, what will the outcomes look like? More balance, time for those you love? List them down and feel empowered and decide who to share this with. It is in our nature to connect and be in relationship so connect and commit with a loved one

Previous > Blog: What is it? & Video: Meditation - 5 Tips to get you started

Next > Video: Meditation - Choosing a Mantra

Rebecca Agent - Founder of Mala Earth, MBA, Sustainability Advocate, Entrepreneur, Dreamer, Yogini and Traveller