At the heart of any unrest, especially anxious and worried thinking, is an overactive mind. This is something we call the “default mode network” of our brain, functioning in an unconscious manner; keeping us alert, aware, and, ultimately, alive. Unchecked, though, and victim to the constant stimulation and sensory overload of 2020 living, this portion of our brain can overwhelm us.
Eventually this “alert” attention will become chronic stress: the past tormenting, the future worrying us, a mind we can’t seem to “turn off."
Mindfulness meditation, in its simplistic principle and application, can return us to the present moment. In daily practice we can find calm, and clarity, and we can recognize what is real, what is permanent.
As we know not everyone—basically, most people—are not familiar with mindfulness meditation, more than just something you hear about, we’ve found a certain acronym that can really aid your practice. If you keep these meditative ideals with you, first understanding them in principle and then in application, we think and hope it can center you in the present moment, in more PV.
Recognize: When we mindfully meditate, we are working to center ourselves in the present moment, devoid of distraction. This is done by focusing upon an anchor. Most of the time, we use our breath in this capacity. Not always, as mantras (sayings, words) and positions (yoga) can be just as helpful, too, but typically the breath is what will ground you to the present moment.
Inevitably, though, when you do this (mindfully meditate), your mind will wander.
Fears, looming future decisions, that dm you shot from the hip at 2:00 AM the night before, whatever it may be, will pull you from your anchor.
Which is absolutely ok.
What is important is the recognition of the departure from your anchor.
Literally take note of the stage-right from the breath, or your anchor, and note that you have wandered.
Then, with compassion and with ease, return to your breath, to begin again.
Recognition, in its simplicity, is the first step in the direction of a calm mind.
Accept: Nothing great has really ever come by force, if you think about it (we have, trust us).
In a mindful meditative practice, acceptance is how we begin to see that so much of the stress and worry and pain we hold in our lives is self-contrived. It is something we create, typically by lamenting on the past or worrying about the future.
Acceptance in a simplistic pairing with recognition, is a direct path to the present and a calming, quiet friend to the mind. We are not forcing anything.
Exh—I gotta get in better shape. Taylor would definitely respond to me if I was in better shape. I HAD SIX SLICES OF PIZZA LAST NI—Wandering.
It’s ok that my thoughts have wandered. These thoughts are not a part of me, but they ARE affecting me. That is ok. (Acceptance)
When you accept things as you are, you disempower them. We so often become victim to our thoughts, overcome with emotion and attachment, only because we are trying to change them, or suppress them.
Recognize in non-judgement, accept in non-judgement, and then return to the present.
Investigate: As you will find out, though, about 8 seconds later, Taylor and those 6 slices of pizza contributing to your less than ideal frame will resurface.
In time, you will recognize things like this—recurring thoughts—quickly, simply and calmly returning to the breath.
Begin to take note, each time, particularly of recurring thoughts, that lead you astray and investigate them.
Are there feelings attached?
Where does it register?
In times of great stress or sorrow, we’ve found that these type of pestering thoughts can hold visceral weight. So, recognize the distraction and take note of whether there is any feeling attached to it. If you are stressed, or seeking some type of approval, maybe you will notice that sensation in your belly.
And then, in compassion and non-judgement, breath into that feeling. Note that it is there—not something you are trying to change—and really just analyze and “feel” the feeling.
This may sound a little bizarre, or maybe too cosmic, but what will happen in time is that you will begin to tee this distraction—this thought that held some much weight and so much anxiety—as something fleeting. It will dissipate, and you will begin to understand that thoughts that cause so much personal stress are not in fact part of you at all, that they are impermanent.
Recognize, investigate, and return to the present.
Non-Judgement: Initially, this idea of non-judgement can be a difficulty concept for a lot of people beginning to meditate.
How are we to change, to really better ourselves, unless we are critical of what we need to change? Of everything we need to fix?
In non-judgement, we quiet the part of our brain that creates our inner turmoil and our anguish. We begin to see things and thoughts that keep us from the present—insecurities, appearance, fears, etc—with a compassioned heart and we notice how easily they now float by.
Thoughts and things that had once held so much weight lose their hold upon us. They are not us, we realize, and that realization only comes when we take note of them in non-judgement.
Judgement, more often than not, is a criticism; a criticism that will stay or always return.
Non-judgement, in its essence as we mindfully meditate, is a loving recognition that something or some thought has arisen—disarming it—but always a path back to the present.