The Ultimate Mindfulness Hack – 5 Words To Peace
The Ubiquitous Cure-All
Mindfulness is all over media, Facebook, and talk shows, and it’s no secret how well keeping your mind dialed-in works for peace and harmony in your life.
Being thankful for what you have and what you’re doing right now this very moment is difficult when you have money worries, an overbearing boss, a fight with a loved one the day before, or you’re struggling with some childhood demon that’s holding you back from being your authentic self.
We have just so many distractions in our lives that being present- being mindful- is all too easy to forget.
Those times when we’re in the moment, truly and completely present, are moments of fleeting perfection.
I’m at my most peaceful when I’m in flow.
It feels like being one with the universe, and it sadly never lasts very long.
It seems like there’s an endless to-do list:
Call the school. Call the doctor’s office. Pay this bill. Then pay that bill. Pick up this thing. Cook that. Clean this. Fix that. Plant this. Harvest that.
It never ends.
Sometimes I forget I have so much to do and it puts me in a place where I can just be.
It happens when I’m lifting weights.
It happens when I’m on long walks with my wife and son.
Sometimes it happens when I cook.
Those are probably my favorite moments of the mindless perfection that comes of being mindful.
When you’re in the present and not worried about anything, you notice everything.
This noticing of everything helps make those infinitely important connections with loved ones.
Your instincts and intuition are amplified when your mind is so calm and aware that you see and hear everything.
Do this enough, and you will earn a reputation as a mind-reader.
Being in your present helps you see every flower on the side of the road, every crack in the pavement, every crinkle in the corner of an eye, and every hesitation.
All of this and peace are yours for the taking.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of books and blogs and web sites telling us how important it is to be mindful.
There are fewer telling us how, and all of the ones I’ve found haven’t really been clear about how to do it.
The lessons of becoming mindful seem to be related to one of those esoteric ideas (or even ideals) so lofty that it can’t really be conveyed in words.
It might leave a student of life feeling as if you don’t know how, you won’t do it until you know how.
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My Life in Shambles
Still, it’s nice to have shortcuts and hacks.
It’s imperative to have them when you’re spiraling, as I was this time last year.
I was flailing around, feeling overwhelmed.
The only emotion I could experience was anger.
It was either anger or nothing, literally.
Oh, sometimes the anger developed at light speed into rage, but I had no love, no peace in my heart.
All I knew was my life was out of control, and so was I.
I was shirking responsibilities, blowing up at my loved ones, sleeping all the time, not enjoying a lick of my life.
More days than not I just wanted to be dead.
I won’t go into what was driving my wits to rend asunder like that, just the summary of, “It was a series of serious and difficult situations for me to handle.”
My wife and I agreed that we weren’t living the life we envisioned when we came together and vowed to do the work that we needed to do to make ourselves, thus our married life, the teamwork- and partnership- oriented loving arrangement we both said we wants but had continuously managed to sabotage at every turn.
She did her work. I did mine.
Along the way a lot of what we were learning converged, but a lot of it diverged considerably because our life stories were so different up until the day we met.
One technique for overcoming anxiety, fear, and anger kept coming up.
How Mindfulness Applies
Being angry at someone, being depressed over a situation, feeling sad about an action, all are symptoms of wanting things to be other than they are.
Peace comes of the mindful practice of recognizing what you have and working with it.
Something amazing happens when you take what you actually have and do something, do anything, with that instead of moping over what you don’t have.
You actually start to feel like you have power.
You’re doing something, and that feels like progress, and it lifts your spirit.
It’s the, “I’m Trying mentality” that will kill the “I’m A Victim mentality”.
Being present lets you see how your compassion needs to be and can be amplified.
It takes the focus off your own misery and puts it on someone who needs you.
When your child vomits, instead of being like Tommy Lee Jones at the end of Natural Born Killers who pleads, “Why is this happening to me?” when the whole world around him is full of murder and mayhem, you can be the parent who is there for your child.
No, it’s not the best situation to be in, and no one wants to be up with a sick child at 3 in the morning.
On the other hand, you have to show up and do your best.
There is no second chance in a situation like that.
Being present, being mindful, keeps everything in perspective, keeps you grounded, and keeps you doing what you need to do.
A couple months ago I found myself losing my grip on where I am and what I’m doing and wishing for my circumstance to be something other than they were.
In the past I’ve used mantras to remind me to be whatever change I was trying to make at the time.
It really helps more to say it out loud than it does to say it in your head, but if you’ve a lot of people around, and it’s just not the right time to mutter to yourself like a crazy person, say it in your head.
It’s better than nothing.
The phrase that I’ve been using to stay mindful is an instantaneous hack to center myself and stay present, so I can live my life instead of wishing myself into misery:
“This is what I’m doing.”
These five little words bring me back before I finish saying it.
In the time that I’ve been saying this phrase to myself, it’s become so automatic that just turning my mind toward the phrase gets me back to right now.
Then I can work on improving my current situation and dropping whatever was distracting me.
Mantras are a powerful tool, and while there are some mystical ones in foreign languages that might help deepen your consciousness, there’s nothing like a couple of simple words to keep you working on what you need to work on because you don’t even have to think about it.
First you have to catch yourself being miserable.
Then you have to remember to say the phrase, and it will be spotty when you first start using it.
Over time it will become easier because it takes six to eight weeks to groove a new practice into becoming a habit.
Once it’s a habit, it will almost happen on its own.
The Mantra in Practice
Life is hard.
There will always be daily obstacles to joy and encounters that will try to hold you down.
When you realize that it’s you holding you down, and you just need to remember where you are and what you’re doing right now, life gets a little bit easier because most of our bad days are bad because of imaginary stuff we create.
Be present. Be mindful. Stop making monsters.
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