The first time I heard about mindfulness I was a bit skeptical but after the first day of practicing I was completely sold! Like most everyone, I have my faults and have areas of improvement that I would love to advance. This is a holistic incorporation of everything from interpersonal relationships to how I treat myself and moves onto how I strive to improve others to seek their better selves. Mindfulness has developed out of Buddhist origins and was intended to end human suffering. Fast forward to current day, one can make the argument that stress is the current form of suffering.
Oftentimes I find myself thinking that my life is tough or that I think my road thus far had been too rough. When I look back honestly and think about it, I’m one of the lucky ones. To me, mindfulness means being aware of what is happening in the moment to myself, how I’m reacting to it, and how it might impact others. I never want to harmfully impact anyone but sometimes it happens. Through my experience in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program with Dr. Sebren, I have learned and developed so much more than I ever I thought I could. I needed a push to move me forward and incorporating these practices was what I needed. I started to aim my attention to intention and move a lot more of my thoughts from “on the way” to “in this moment.” I noticed when my body was in autopilot: brushing teeth, driving, sitting in a meeting, etc… I became the 1st person scientist of my own mind and could begin to notice how I react to stress.
I can always push myself further and beyond what I am currently feeling and what I am doing. However, I now don’t always feel the need to do so nor the need to not do so. Currently I try and react the way I normally would have but just step outside myself and realize exactly how I am feeling and how I have responded (whether that be physiologically [increased heart rate, flushed face, sweating] or psychologically [complete change of mental and emotional state]).
In the beginning, on day one, I was all set for anything thrown my way. I was thinking to myself “self: you’re strong and you can handle anything” and then I handled my dose of mindfulness. We started with a guided body scan. Of course I thought to myself, body scan? Ha! I know my body inside and out. Over 40(ish) minutes later I realized how wrong I’ve been in understanding my interpretation on how I’ve been feeling and reacting. It’s interesting the realizations we come to by being thrown into something brand new. There are many assumptions I had and never realized. Throughout my time and enveloping myself in various practices and talking with other people in the program, I find that (just as in working out) you get more out of it with the more effort you put in.
Dragons, join me next time where I delve into a few more of the practices that have assisted me and I’ll expand even further on the benefits and ethics of mindfulness. I am not a certified practitioner and could not lead a program like this but I have faith I can encourage you to keep an open mind.