How many times has it happened to you that during a conversation, instead of listening, you are thinking what are you going to answer? or that you worry about things that have not happened and may never happen? Or perhaps that without knowing someone you immediately form a judgment of that person and when you have the opportunity to meet he or her you realize that it is not what you had thought?
I think that in some way or another we have all gone through this and although they are quite widespread reactions, they take us away from reality and we begin by believing mental stories based on our past and ways of perceiving life that are definitely not objective, since all we perceive reality as “we are” and not as “it is”. These attitudes take us away from the present moment and disturb our mind.
The practice of Mindfulness is based on 8 fundamental pillars that when cultivating them in your daily life will allow you to find peace and a greater degree of presence:
1. THE BEGINNER MIND
We often let our thoughts and beliefs about what we "know" prevent us from seeing things as they really are, with the result of closing ourselves off to what the present moment holds.
Cultivating a beginner's mind means freeing yourself from your expectations of the past and how you think things should be and opening your mind and heart to what is really happening with an attitude of curiosity and non-judgment.
Instead of falling into automatic patterns of thought and behavior dictated by your expectations or past experiences, this new attitude will allow you to open up to new possibilities and ways of seeing life.
2. NO- JUDGMENT
It is an invitation to become an impartial observer of your experiences and thoughts. Although judgment is one of the rational processes of the mind, when it is constant and unconscious it becomes difficult to find a state of inner peace. The mind is constantly creating "positive" or "negative" judgments labeling reality under a certain way of looking at life.
The invitation here is to observe and acknowledge when judgment appears in your mind and let it go without creating further mental stories. Allow yourself to observe it by assuming the attitude of an impartial observer and letting go of labels such as "good or bad" or "right or wrong.”
Acceptance is the condition of the one who sees things as they are in the present moment. We use a great deal of energy to resist what happens instead of accepting reality as it is.
Cultivating acceptance is essential in a process of change that is not to be confused with a passive attitude but on the contrary, with the ability to accept our experiences for what they are at that moment without trying to change them.
By accepting the situation as it is, you begin to have a clearer vision of what is really happening without the veil of judgment and what you think you know in order to act more consciously and helpfully in your life.
4. NON- STRIVING
In our current society, where the belief that "more is better and fast is best", the search for results on one hand has allowed us to achieve high levels of economic well-being, but on the other, it has greatly increased the levels of stress, dissatisfaction and impatience.
In our culture, most of the things we do, we do to obtain a result, while in Eastern cultures such as Buddhism and yoga, on the contrary, we are invited to BE with no other objective than to be yourself.
Here the practice of meditation becomes fundamental because it gives us spaces to BE. Remember that the goal of meditation is to train the mind to be present and not to relax or feel “good”, which is why it is often a practice that invites us to observe our own resistance, discomfort or physical and emotional pain without any need to want to reach a specific result.
Learn to trust ourselves, our experiences, sensations, emotions and intuitions. This means that if we perceive that something does not feel right inside of us, we learn to respect our sensations and intuitions instead of feeling that "we have to do it."
This confidence is the result of listening to yourself through Mindfulness practices and consequently learning to trust your inner wisdom. Cultivating confidence in yourself will allow you to develop confidence in others.
6. LET IT "BE"
Cultivating an attitude of "letting go" or non-attachment is fundamental in the practice of Mindfulness. However "letting be" is different from "letting go".
"Letting be" refers to allowing things (or people) to be as they are without attempting to "let go" of whatever feeling is present. "Letting go" is something you do, "letting be" is allowing things to be as they are.
This means that many times we are not ready to "let go" something that is painful for us at this moment, such as the loss of a loved one and it is necessary to "let be" in the sense of allowing strong feelings of loss, pain or abandonment to be present without us wanting to quickly get rid of them. By allowing ourselves to accept the situation as it is, we create an inner space so that when we are ready we can let go.
Patience is understanding that everything has its own time, it is learning to be completely present in each moment, accepting it in its fullness.
This is an invitation to cultivate patience with our mind and body. When in meditation you observe yourself being distracted, patiently return to your anchor of attention over and over again. No matter how many times you get distracted, patience allows you to come back to yourself without judgment or irritation.
Compassion always begins with yourself. When we learn to sit with ourselves, trusting whatever sensation or feeling emerges without judgment and without rejecting it, that is when we begin to cultivate compassion for ourselves and for all beings.
Compassion is also recognizing our common humanity, the fact that we all share fears, we all have the same desires to be loved and accepted and by recognizing it in yourself, it allows you to open your heart to others.
When we begin to apply these 8 Attitudes in our life, our consciousness expands and we learn to respond to life instead of reacting on automatic pilot to what is happening. It is an inner path that requires your love, your patience, your compassion and your personal commitment to remember your true essence.
Which of these 8 pillars do you have to cultivate the most in your life?