Archive for April, 2010

When You Can’t Trust Your Mind: Monday’s Mindful Quote with Albert Einstein

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Here we are again with Monday’s Mindful Quote. Last week I wrote the post 5 Quotes that Can Change Your Life, and here’s one of them by Albert Einstein. Go ahead and read it a few times before moving on:

“You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”

Ok, so we’ve all been told that Albert Einstein was a genius, so it couldn’t hurt us to explore his wisdom.

It is all-too-natural and all-too-common for us to try and solve a problem with the same mind that created it. For example, when we begin sliding into depression, the automatic negative thoughts seep out, “what’s the point, who cares, nothing ever going to change, etc, etc…” and this helps lead us into depression. When we’re feeling depressed, all the mind wants to do is find the solution to the “problem” of depression and so it twirls round and round in its depressed state trying to find the explanation for “what’s wrong with me.”

The result is an unending barrage of rumination that sinks us deeper and deeper into a depressed state.

 Let’s switch it to anxiety. If you’re anxious about something it’s likely an anxious pattern of your mind that led you to that anxious state, maybe thoughts of “I have so much to do, when will I ever get it done” or “what if he comes up to me, I might make a fool out of myself,” etc., etc…” In that state of anxiety, the mind tries to figure out how to get out of it. So what does it do? It catastrophizes. It comes up with all the worst-case scenarios that might happen in an effort to get away from the anxiety.

What happens? The anxiety amplifies and as it amplifies we begin to worry about our worrying leading to greater imbalance.

When we notice the mind trying to “fix” our problems when it’s in an imbalanced place, it might be helpful to remember Einstein’s quote:

“You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.”

So he’s beckoning us to come down from our busy minds and then begin to question the issue. There are many ways to do this and it depends on your preference. In my classes that I teach I have people create a checklist of activities that can be done when the mind is caught in its unhealthy cycles.

People put everything from the STOP practice, to the ACE practice, to walking, calling a friend, praying, and much more.

From this place you can begin to engage in problem solving healthier ways to move through you stress, anxiety, or depression.

What is on your check list to come down from your busy mind?

Please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on

Working with Practice: Sleepiness, Wandering Mind, and Perception

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

This MBSR Workbook Vblog talks about how to work with sleepiness and wandering mind while meditating. It also speaks briefly on perception and how we see things from a limited view.

5 Quotes that Can Change Your Life!

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Well, it’s not Monday, but I was just reading a book by Ariane de Bonvoisin called The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier (interview with Ariane to come … stay tuned) which has a number of fantastic quotes in it that I believe if reflected on mindfully could very well change your life.

Now, we’re not just going to glance over these quotes, I’m going to suggest that you take at least 30 seconds with each quote doing the following 5-step mindfulness practice.

  1. Get centered — Take a moment to just notice your body here, noticing any tension and seeing if you can choose to let that tension go. Become aware that you’re breathing.
  2. Read the quote twice – Reading it twice allows it to settle in a bit more.
  3. Allow the words to simmer — Close your eyes and see if you can let the words roll around and notice what arises for you physically, emotionally and mentally. In other words, let these words percolate in your mind and body. Do any thoughts, memories, or associations arise? Is there a tension or loosening in the body? Do emotions of fear, joy, or calm arise? Whatever arises this is grist for the mill.
  4. Bring your mind back if it wanders — You may notice the mind going off into thoughts of what you need to be doing or judgments such as “how is this going to be helpful to me?” Just note where it wandered to and gently guide it back. As Larry Rosenberg says in his book Breath by Breath, repeat this step several billion times.
  5. Come back to the breath – Thank yourself for taking this time-out of your daily busy-ness to engage with this mindful inquiry for your health and well-being.

Even if you only get through one quote, you can come back at later times to work with the others.

Here we go.

  1. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” ~ Victor Frankl
  2. “Amidst the worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings.” ~ Tao Te Ching
  3. “You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it.” ~ Albert Einstein
  4. “You see everything is about belief, whatever we believe rules our existence, rules our life.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
  5. “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters to what lies within us.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Ok, one extra:

Hence, there is a time to go ahead and a time to stay behind.

There is a time to breathe easy and a time to breathe hard.

There is a time to be vigorous and a time to be gentle.

There is a time to gather and a time to release.

Can you see things as they are

And let them be all on their own?

~ Lao-tzu

What did you notice as you did this practice? Are there other quotes that are meaningful to you or you think would be valuable for this practice? Share any thoughts, stories and questions you have. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on