How do we deal with uncertainty? Well, letting go of the ‘I can’t cope’ story is a start. When we engage in a mindfulness practice, we start to see the narratives we tell ourselves for what they are; stories we tell ourselves.
But what if we’re wrong, what if instead of being fearful creatures we’re actually strong and resourceful?
When you engage in mindfulness, you can battle things that usually give you the trembles, like uncertainty, by seeing through your mind’s usual story. And you can write a newer, truer one, if you like.
I am working on it. I am. Acceptance is the root of mindfulness. Sometimes you’re happy, sometimes you’re sad. If you accept each state as it comes, without holding on to any state, then you have done it. You are being mindful. You are at peace.
“Shock story!” “Disease risk!” “…as rates reach record high!”
Illness is categorised and then sensationalised. It is torn apart from it’s counter-part, health, and presented as an entrancing gruesome tit-bit for you to enjoy with your coffee.
It is telling that only one out of twelve headline articles on the CNN website is even in the vein of ‘Slow down and live long with the ancient practice of qigong’.
Basically, the media makes health and illness into something completely alien from what it is – to sell papers – by making it exciting, whereas actually we all really just need to listen to ourselves and what we need to be well.
Otherwise known as loving-kindness meditation, meta meditation increases empathy and compassion for the world around you. As a practice it comes from the Buddhist tradition, though you need not be Buddhist, or even religious, to benefit from the meditation.
To do it, all you need is a quiet spot and either good intentions or the wish to have good intentions.
Settle yourself into a comfortable position. Sitting with good posture is advisable, either on the floor or on a chair, though if you have knee troubles or other complications, lying down is absolutely fine.
Once you are settled, you do the meditation in three stages.
You say ‘May I be happy.’ Repeat that phrase 10 times, taking as long as you need.
You think of someone you know and love, saying ‘May [insert name] be happy.’ Repeat this 10 times, again taking as much time as you need.
Say ‘May all living creatures be happy,’ 10 times.
Practice when you need to – it has scope to transform your life; to add joyfulness and deeper understanding.
The view as life slows down is pretty spectacular.
I am seeing different possibilities in the way I act, for example, the more I meditate.
I also feel less of the grip of social media. I rarely post on facebook now, and so it is not on my radar very much. It is very liberating. It feels like my world has somehow expanded; I notice more of the world around me; the little things; the big things. And because I meditate, I see things more equanimously; they are what they are.
Giving up stress, focusing on what is healthy, shaping my life around me; this journey has been a treat… and it is only just beginning.
‘Glimpses of joy really matter, because they connect us to life rather than split us away from it.’
Dr Patricia Collard
Mindfulness doesn’t just teach us to relax, it helps us see a whole new way of living; the fostering of joy.
Stepping back to look at life helps us see what brings us happiness. Good relationships, acts of kindness, compassion for our co-workers, friends and family. Growing plants and vegetables. Looking after ourselves. All the things we so often forget.
To learn mindfulness is to learn the art of living joy.
Mindfulness has been used to help treat mental and physical disorders in the West for the past 30 years or so. It can help with pain management, low immune efficiency, addiction, depression, anxiety and stress.
In a nutshell, it is a way of experiencing life in the moment, rather than in your head. Of accepting life as it is rather than avoiding it with thoughts and self told stories about the way things are.
If you suffer with any of the above afflictions, look up MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) and MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress-Reduction) as therapies.