If you are at all like me, when I first started my mindfulness practice, I thought that I was really bad at it. The first few times I sat down to do a meditation practice I thought that there was never going to be a chance that I would be able to turn my brain off and stop thinking.
Thank goodness, after a lot of time and research, I learned that we are not supposed to turn off our thoughts. Meditation and mindfulness is not about having no thoughts. It is about training our brains to take a break and be in the present moment.
See, we are not Buddhist monks living a life of silence. We are householders, meaning that we have people in our lives that we need to take care of. We have jobs, activities, to do lists and more. Therefore to expect our minds to turn off completely is impossible.
If you are someone who is looking to build a foundation of meditation, try this activity. I have recorded a video that will walk you through how to start training your brain to be in the present moment. As I have said before, our brain is like any other muscle that you have train. The more that you work it, the better it will work.
To do this activity you simply need a comfortable seat to sit in and a piece of paper and pencil. The activity that I have recorded for your is a 5 minute exercise. During your sit time, you should do your best to focus on your breath or the sounds in the room. Then, as a thought pops up, you need to simply jot it down. When the time is up, take a look at your thoughts and decide if they are past thoughts (things that have already happened that you may be thinking or dwelling about), future thoughts (to do list types of thoughts or thinking of things that will happen in the future) or present thoughts (Thoughts about what you are doing right now). You can simply note each with a “P” for past thoughts, “F” for future thoughts, or “N” for present or now thoughts.
After you take a look at your list, see if you have more of one type of thought than others. If you are a person who has more past thoughts, you may have a tendency toward depression because you are feeling regret or worry about what has already happened. If you have more future thoughts, you may have tendencies toward anxiety or worry. However, the key to these thoughts is to remember that the only time that we have control over is NOW. We cannot change the past or the future. We can only live in the now.
With more practice, you can train your brain to have more now thoughts. Especially at a time like this, living through complete uncertainty, living in the now is important. We need to enjoy the present moment and do the best with what we do have control over instead of getting lost in the worry about the future.
I hope that you will take some time to start a mindfulness practice for yourself. There is no time like the present! I would love to hear from you about how you feel about the practice!! Please feel free to leave comments!!