Begining a mindfulness practice is akin to learning a new language or instrument..what you put into practice is what you get out of it. Thats a tough truth to swallow in this “I want it now” culture of immediate on demmand results. On top of that, learning mindfulness is a direct challenge to how our mind has been wired to behave …out of habit. Not to worry as we can rewire our neurocircuitry…I rewrote a pathway of panic disorder into peace so you can definetly wire up some mindfulness neural pathways.
The biggest obstacle is the negative bias we all have (yes all huamans!) which causes us to focus and recall the negative over positive thoughts, memories and experiences. Our brain is constantly scanning the environment and our mind is usually running a commentary of self criticism, judgement and overall fear based amygdala centred thoughts. I add the neuropsychology to empower you, for when you understand how much of this challenge of maintaining a practice is because you are a human in a fear focused stressed out society then you are likely to go easy on yourself realising mindfulness isnt hard for you…its challenging for everyone to maintain let alone master.
When practicing mindfulness we become increasingly aware of our inner dialouge and the following most common thoughts of a new student are:
Oh my God I am going crazy …I am having more thoughts than I was before and Oh my God I am so negative and neurotic and I am so judgemental of others I hate myself OMG I need a therapist!
Having taught many beginners to mindfulness meditation I am glad to be able to explain some neuropsychology behind these initial experiences …to help normalise the process that ALL beginners think these same thoughts and the bottom line that perceiving your mind is “louder” than it was before is actually a sign of progress…you perceive there are more thoughts but actually it is that you are awake and observing your present thoughts with mindfulness. Mindful of your mind.
Self compassion is the direct antidote to the negative bias circuit. Its one of the three pillars I teach all of my meditation students and coaching clients.
So you can see why self compassion is essential, waking up to everything around us can trigger alot of emotions and if you dont know how to process what is arising …this has the potential to create a fear around practicing and becoming more “awakened”. Transformation isnt designed to be comfortable and we dont always see it coming like the catapillar in the cocoon thinking its all over and then flys away in unexpected ecstatic bliss. When I have had students cry during class I console them that its totally normal especially if they have been stuffing their feelings down and staying distracted and stimulated to avoid the emotional process. In meditation we finally stop, our mind and our soul gets to rest and whatever needs to clear for greater peace and clarity…it will indeed surface to clear…the tears, the anger…the physical discomfort…the monkey mind on a rampage swinging through a neurotic jungle. Whenever you choose to stop to practice, even now a micro moment…how do you feel?….Pause & process.
A regular mindfulness practice will transform your life in positive ways across various facets of wellbeing. This is why I am so passionate to guide others to figure out how to make the practice practicle in their daily life and therefore sustainable & ongoing. After living in South East Asia and observing meditation drop outs because they did a retreat that was “too hard” but really it was just impractical to integrate into their daily life. This fired up my passion further and have since focused on this as a teacher and practical practice coach for mind, body and spirit.
So please dont give up on your mindfulness practice for the love of you, me and everything else!
Its my hope for you to realise your potential, to prioritise your wellbeing and have sustainable daily practices to remind you who you really are.