Mindfulness cultivates, refines, and sharpens our inner resources.
When we develop those resources we become not so attached to, or defined by, the people, places, and things around us. In other words, the challenges in life don’t rattle us as much and they tend to just roll off us like water on a ducks back.
Mindfulness practices give us a sense of feeling more grounded and less affected by the world around us. This allows more joy to enter our presence.
Seeking Happiness is a Selfish Pursuit
Happiness can be a controversial word, and so can the word selfish. There tends to be an association with the realm of the superficial. But let me ask you a couple questions:
- Happiness: Does holding up a newborn baby or watching a sunset on the ocean with a dear friend or someone you love seem superficial?
- Selfish: Does pausing your worldly responsibilities for three months and checking yourself into rehab or getting a massage because of an injury seem superficial?
Cultivating happiness means building up your inner resources by taking time to be mindful, training your attention so that you don’t get so caught up in things. That’s why we practice. We don’t practice to become great meditators; we practice to have a different life.
How does mindfulness make us more effective in our lives?
Mindfulness teaches us how to start over. When you sit down, try to quiet your mind, and focus your attention on the sensations of the in and out breath, it’s not going to be 800 breaths until your mind wanders. It’s going to be one, or two, and then you’ll be lost in thought, lost in the past, lost in the future. Noticing how you speak to yourself in that moment when your mind wanders is an essential part of the practice. Is your voice harsh and judgmental? Take note.
Be kinder to yourself. Tell yourself, “it’s okay, just let go, start over.” Beginning again is the most important part of the whole process. That’s the life skill we take into our everyday worlds. The nature of everything is change. Nothing in life is a straight shot where you make a decision, and you’re going for something, and you never fall down, and you never falter, and you never get distracted. We’re always starting over and starting over and starting over. Meditation helps us do that with kindness and compassion and happiness.
Meditation destroys worries, fear, and anxiety that people experience in the “cut-throat” competitive environment of modern societies. When the mind becomes quiet, the human body becomes quiet too and knows how to repair itself.