Mindfulness: The Restlessness Experience

We are living in tumultuous and unsettling times for many. What are your habits and practices for staying centered and grounded? Are you clear about your core values and the gifts and talents you bring to the table, allowing you to be responsive rather than reactive to unsettling events? How do you stay aligned with your authentic self, remaining open and vulnerable in the midst of uncertainty?

I find myself seeking and needing more intentional reflective time to stay centered and grounded. I have a sunroom that overlooks my garden where I feed the birds. Sitting in a meditative state just watching the birds be birds grounds me and allows my mind to be still. What habits and practices help you to stay centered and grounded?

This is part 3 in the 3-part series on Mindful Reflection by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.

Mindful, Reflection, Meditation, Restlessness, Mind, Be Still, Focus, Breath, Observe, Discover, Be Gentle, Challenge, Experience You, Non-Achievement, Slow Down, Strengths, Strengths Based Leadership, StrengthsFinder, leadership coach

Be gentle with yourself and do what you can each time you practice. Click To Tweet

In my last post, I offered some guidelines for practicing mindfulness meditation.

Meditation is becoming more common in the Western world, as a tool for stress reduction and for finding more meaning and fulfillment in life.

Not everyone finds it easy to sit still for 15-25 minutes. At some point in meditation, we experience our mind’s restlessness — a strong desire to be somewhere else, doing other things, to think about something. You may find that you think of all the other matters that need your attention.

When you experience restlessness, you will notice how you shut down your sense of “here and now” — your own presence in the world as it really exists. It is easy to become distracted, and difficult to sit and be still with ourselves. Try different meditation practices to find one that works well for you. Don’t be afraid of experimenting with different practices such as walking meditation, sitting in a lotus position, sitting in a chair, repetitive activity meditation like weeding, sweeping, yoga, or guided meditation. Here is an example of one form of practice.

As you begin to meditate, focus on nothing more than your breath. Soon, you might find that your mind has wandered off or has distracting thoughts. Simply acknowledge it, and return to your breathing.

You may struggle to simply observe thoughts as they arise and to let them go. This is because the judging mind kicks in. Are you finding it difficult to not think of problems, opinions, and “things that need to be done?” Worse yet, you might begin to judge the thoughts themselves and, then, judge the judging.

This is when you begin to discover how you interact in the world. When you turn off the here and now you distort your sense of purpose and miss opportunities to appreciate your reality. The ensuing anxiety prevents you from being open.

Five minutes is better than none. Gradually challenge yourself to add a minute to each session when you can. Be gentle with yourself and do what you can each time you practice the breathing exercise.

 Experiencing Who You Are
To become mindful, you must understand the distinction between trying to improve yourself and experiencing who you already are. To be mindful…

  • You acknowledge that you are already open.
    You don’t try to be more open.
  • You acknowledge the wisdom and kindness you hold within.
    You don’t try to be more wise or compassionate.
  • You meditate to get in touch with who you already are. Discover your authentic self and your true qualities as they already exist within you. You turn away the inner judge and critic.
    You don’t strive to achieve a better, improved you.

Non-achievement as an Art
Practice mindfulness meditation or mindful reflection with non-achievement in mind. The benefits of meditation are attained by exercising the unseen “mindfulness muscles”. Focus and concentration improve with each practice of meditation or mindful reflection. Eventually, you will learn to turn off the racing thoughts and judgment part of the brain.

When you slow down you gain a realistic picture of what is going on, how you might just observe what is going on around you, instead of speeding through your day and speeding through your life.

Do you have a meditative or mindful reflection practice? What has been your experience? What have you found works best for you? What have you noticed about yourself when you have taken the time to pause and reflect? I would love to hear about your experiences. If you are curious or have questions, please contact me here or on LinkedIn.

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