A Course in Mindfulness

This day and age we are consistently bombarded with the belief we must listen to the “inner voice” telling us which path to take and decision to make. We’re made to believe the voice in our head is truth instead of perception. Is it though? I can lose count of the times my mind has spun situations far from reality – where I end up *ugly* crying when my fears have blinded me from the whole situation or where I question my life path – my job, my relationships or even my purpose.

So perhaps we should not give our minds free reign – to be left unchecked to think and react without pause. Perhaps we should strive to train our minds, to place healthy boundaries around them. Against popular culture? Surely. Controversial? Potentially.

This is not a statement against expressing your opinions on the unjust issues of the world. It’s not about silencing controversy or feeling that you have no right to a voice. I am by no means arguing we all become robots devoid of raw emotion, nor am I stating that immediate reactions are necessary wrong. I am focusing on the times when we let a thought fester into our minds, make home there and allow it to overtake our rationality and true reality. In doing this we ruin our emotional stability, our relationship with the outside world, and our relationship with others. We place blinders and hinder our overall picture.

I argue in detaching from immediate knee-jerk emotional reactions as a chance to untangle the unhealthy thought loops that have perpetually wrecked havoc on one’s life. To pause and realize that your “inner voice” may be breathing fire into self-victimization tendencies. The greatest step I’ve uncovered thus far in my path to mindfulness is to not always believe the thoughts inside your head. To always evaluate where they’re coming from an analyze – “is this how I truly feel or are there past experiences that are shaping how I perceive this situation”.

Some may argue this makes your thoughts insincere and contrived. I counter that your mind is naturally constantly looking for patterns to understand and remove you (if needed) from dangerous situations. I just say we mind-train to use healthy, thoughtful ways to exercise this natural tendency so that we don’t become stuck in negative thought loops which lead us back to “why am I not happy”, “why am I pushing people away”, “why am I not willing to motivate myself”. Just like the body, the mind needs as much if not more training to be healthy and a positive catalyst in our overall wellbeing.

My mindfulness focus of the week is this: the thoughts you feed breath life into the reality you receive. If you give your power to the negative thought loops that are detrimental to your peace you are taking a step away from the goal of equanimity.

This week, join me in striving to respond in ways that reflect who you want to be instead of knee-jerk reacting out of emotions.

Xx Em