Let’s start of with a story. Once there was a very skilled basketball player who is able to send a ball through the hoop from anywhere on a basketball court and spectators would applaud and praise him. However, one spectator simply smiles and said “It is just a matter of practice”. The basketball player was triggered by the comment and asked this woman to explain herself. She asked him to watch her. She proceeded to do double and triple somersaults and people around there also applauded. Then she invited him to do what she did but he quickly declined. She proceeded to explain that we can become good at anything if we keep putting our attention and effort on it.
So I wish to ask you, where do you put your attention and effort on in your life? Do you practice complaining, criticizing, worrying and stress for what comes to your life? If so, you will flawlessly complain, criticize, worry and be stressed up. For example, you could be experiencing the most wonderful meal in a restaurant, but what comes out from you would more likely be, “Why is the room so cold?”, instead of something more appreciative.
Knowing this, logically we would swing to the other side and resolve to practice positive thinking, loving speech and stress removal to counter a negative habit. But that is not quite the answer. Imagine you are driving down the highway at the speed of 110 km/hr, and you wish to stop the car. If you just simply jam the brakes, the car may overturn or swerve dangerously. Conventionally, we would put in a lot of effort (like jamming the brakes) to counter a negative habit but this is actually very exhausting because it is a struggle and if you failed, you may mentally beat yourself up.
A safer way, as we would normally do to stop our car, is to check the surrounding and ease the foot off the pedal, apply the brakes gently and signal to move to the emergency lane before coming to a complete stop. This example helps us understand how to deal with old habits we have developed. First we need to have an awareness to recognize each time an old habit comes up. This awareness is like easing the foot off the accelerator pedal, a step back to know what is happening to ourselves. Secondly, we observe how we are (in body and mind and even other people’s reaction) when we are practicing our old habit. This will give us actual data of the consequences of our actions. The mind that has wisdom will naturally know its time to “change lane” and slowly the non-beneficial habits we practiced will reduce or cease. In short, just putting in the practice of being aware of self with a relaxed and interested attitude, we will start to see how our mind is in relation to what’s happening in our daily life.
Awareness is synonymous with mindfulness. Here in Clove&Clive we will show you why mindfulness is crucial to your day-to-day living and lay out simple ways to develop mindfulness that could enliven your life in ways you can never imagine. I invite all of you to join the final 2016 workshops for Mindfulness—A Starting Point and Awakening Inner Wisdom starting this Wednesday and Thursday respectively, to bring about practices that enrich your life and your loved ones.