Ahhhh, the simpleness of a squirrel… he just wants the acorn hat!
I never believed in “mind over matter”, but I have to say that I have learned alot in the last 2 years about being mindful, and feeding yourself positive affirmations. Your attitude comes to be by what you think. If you are always negative, that will be what you attract, but on the other hand, if you are positive and present yourself with a smile, happiness will be found in you. No, it is not an overnight thing. We don’t become negative quickly, but rather, over a period of time. The same is to be said about happiness. It takes time to ingrain that habit into yourself.
Be kind to yourselves, practice positivity, and don’t give up.
Mindfulness is focused awareness of the present moment. Mindfulness lets us be fully conscious of a simple sensation like the warmth of sunlight or of the complex interplay between our thoughts and feelings.
By tuning in to mental processes, we are able to recognize that our thoughts are just thoughts; they don’t necessarily represent reality. We can observe them rather than being subject to them.
Mindfulness lets us absorb the richness of the moment instead of going through life with half of our attention on the past or future or our own mental chatter. The self-knowledge that comes from mindfulness lets us be more intentional in choosing priorities and actions that fit our life mission. * wisdomcommons.org
I simply cannot get enough of Mindfulness. There is so much to be said of this practice that I do not know where to even begin. I know I mention it often but it is something that truly can be life changing.
I want to state that even though mindfulness is a Buddhist based concept, it is not religion bound. Please do not believe that this amazing, life changing practice must be confined by the walls of religion. Just as Jesus’ kindness and compassion is not bound by the restrictions of a religion, neither is practicing mindfulness nor meditation.
I received a link from a fellow blogger Ben Naga to an article called The Fascinating Buddhist Approach to Low Self-Esteem. This article is brilliant and incorporates other Buddhist practices, aside from mindfulness, to help fix ones low self esteem issues. I am so grateful that Ben sent me this link as I am one who struggles greatly with low self esteem and I feel that this article can be beneficial to all.
~Individuals with defensive or low self-esteem typically focus on trying to prove themselves or impress others. They tend to use others for their own gain. Some act with arrogance and contempt towards others. They generally lack confidence in themselves ,often have doubts about their worth and acceptability, and hence are reluctant to take risks or expose themselves to failure. They frequently blame others for their shortcomings rather than take responsibility for their actions. NASE
So how do we fix self esteem issues??
**One of the main goals of Buddhist meditation is cultivating compassion and love, and several techniques focus on developing these qualities toward oneself.** If we want to cultivate compassion and love for others, doesn’t it make sense that we learn to cultivate these things for our “self” first? How can we truly give to others that of which we cannot give to ourselves?
The article describes a way in which a man is helped to direct warmth and compassion inwards…but it is a very tricky process because the “inner critic” or “committee” as I like to call it, starts in with its nonsense and gives its
bullshit kind reminders of why love and kindness is not deserved. But by meditation and “asking” the committee direct questions, this gentleman was able to get over this hurdle and begin to accept the compassion and kindness unto himself.
PLEASE read this short 2 page article called The Fascinating Buddhist Approach to Low Self-Esteem, bookmark it, and put it into practice for yourself. I am just beginning and it is a true eye opener for me. I am hoping this approach will help me to OWN the love and happiness that I deserve to have. This technique will help me to get that damn committee in my head to shut its hole… it will help me feel the compassion I have for others, for myself. ♥
Thank you Ben Naga… you are a wealth of information and inspiration. ♥
Mindfulness originates in Buddhism, Buddha himself said: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/buddha.html#ixzz1iO2bYLwv
Where am I going with this?? I am going to tell you a little about DBT ( Dialectical Behavioral Therapy ). This type of therapy uses mindfulness to help you control your emotions… as people with mood disorders have a difficult time regulating their emotions and keeping them within healthy boundaries.
Mindfulness is paying attention, in a positive way, on purpose, non-judgmentally. It is a way to be in the moment effictively, without letting it overtake you. ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
For example: Always looking to the past can cause serious depression. We all have “coulda, woulda, shoulda’s” and it is impossible to go back in time to fix things with your present time 20/20 vision. So, when you are looking back you are inflicting mental torment on yourself that you can do nothing about. The past can be a great learning tool, but only use it as such. Being mindful, every time your brain takes you to the past, to a hurtful memory, accept it non-judgmentally, maybe cry a little if you need to, but redirect your mind to the present moment.
Looking to the future can cause anxiety because you are always saying “what if”. The future is not the here and now, only the present moment is. And if your present moment is causing you distress you can either change it or accept it. You will find that by accepting it, if it can not be changed, you become less worried and anxious.
Maybe you say to yourself: “I made poor decisions in my past”. But you have to remind yourself that you never chose to make a poor decision, you made decisions and choices based on all of your experiences up to that specific point in time: We make the best choice possible based on our experiences up to that moment in time.
Here is a personal example. My son was abused by a horrible man, beaten by this horrible man. Some days it just kills me because the thoughts just come flooding over me. As I type this, I cry. Practicing mindfulness, I am getting better at redirecting my thoughts. When I think of my sons abuse, I acknowledge the anger, sadness, and various emotions that take me hostage…and WITHOUT JUDGMENT. After I do that, if I cannot take my mind off of it, I redirect me thoughts to my “gratitude” list: my children are healthy and happy. My family has been very supportive. My home has been created with someone I love. I am loved. I am getting better everyday. My children are the beacon in the darkness. – just a few examples. If I STILL cannot take my mind off of it, I become active and do things I enjoy. Perhaps go for a walk and try to be mindful and take in the beauty of our planet, read a good book, blog, crochet, make candles (when I have the resources, lol), and I use to exercise often, which I need to begin again because it is a great way to stay healthy mentally and physically. You get the idea here.
Mindfulness does not work overnight. It is something that must be practiced daily… and allow it time to work.
Some great books on mindfulness: The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness for dummies.
There is allot of online material about mindfulness. Some sites offer Mindfulness self help, others are scholarly articles. If you do research you will find many resources that can help you. And I find great books at the library, so you definitely do not have to spend money to start practicing.
Hope this post is helpful. I find that practicing mindfulness can be life altering… but it is not overnight. It has helped me tremendously but I have not reached my full potential, I am still healing.
I also want to state that though mindfulness is the practice of Buddhism and other religions, it is nondenominational. It is not affiliated with any one religion.
May peace by with you all…