I've been meditating on and off for a good five years and applying the principles of mindfulness, a focus on the here and now in my everyday life. For the last six months I've got out of the swing of sitting daily and using my breath to anchor me into the present moment. So it seemed that time away to intensely practice was a good way of reestablishing a beneficial habit. Today, I'd thought I'd share why it's been so useful, to this noisy, wine swilling, appreciator of the male form with a dirty sense of humour.
- I've learnt to tune in to negative emotions that I'm experiencing and differentiate between say, discontentment, anxiety or anger. Once I've worked out what I'm feeling it seems easy to delve a bit more, discover the cause of what's irking me and do something about it.
- Cravings can be overcome sometimes as they're just feelings.
- The concepts of impermanence and change have become really important. I have an appreciation that unpleasant feelings aren't going to last forever.
- Similarly it's just not possible to always be in Yellowstone, France or at a Leonard Cohen concert! I appreciate the good times when they're around but don't get bogged down in wishing for them back at other times.
- I've got a better appreciation of what is within my control and the things that I can do nothing about. This is particularly helpful in a stressful workplace environment.
- I'm more likely to notice the simple pleasures in life that often pass fleetingly quickly.
- Excessive baguette eating on one of our French trips caused a bout of tummy spasms that were on a par with being in labour! It was then I discovered that I had a better ability to 'ride' physical pain. Again this is linked to the idea of impermanence too. A learning experience, yes, but one which I don't want to repeat. I've cut down on boulangerie visits since then.
- Dips in my ability to concentrate are associated with low mood and leave me susceptible to relapsing into depression. I notice these much earlier now and can do something about them before they get to meltdown stage.
- And slowly slowly by gaining a realisation of my own inner self I'm becoming more empathic with the experience of others. How deep is that!