At this point the mental health benefits of a mindfulness practice are fairly well established. However, cultivating a more mindful life isn’t often easy. There are many obstacles at play. The places we work and the people we surround ourselves with are likely not trying to put mindfulness at the forefront of their lives. We’re also looking for that perfect quiet time to sit, stand or lie down and practice intentionally paying attention to the present moment with fresh eyes. Sometimes we get restless, agitated, bored or begin to doubt ourselves that we can ever truly be mindful and so we reactively avoid it. The following is a quote by the 15th century Indian poet Kabir that I love to bring up again and again that gets underneath these obstacles and drops us into mindfulness.
“Wherever you are that is the entry point.”
This is it, the underlying truth behind mindfulness. If the intention is to bring awareness to the direct experience of the present moment, with fresh eyes, then life itself becomes the practice.
This is a core teaching I bring up when I speak with clients, groups, and it’s even one of the fundamental principles in the Training Ground section of The Now Effect.
What’s so powerful about understanding that wherever you are that is the entry point is that it frees us of this false belief that we need to be in a certain head space to train our minds toward mindfulness. In the moments you are doubting, agitated, restless or bored, these are the entry points to the present moment.
I often ask the question, “How does it feel in your body?” This allows it to be an entry point. If we can bring a curious awareness to the sensation that’s there we are present with it. This is a 180 degree shift from what we would normally do which is to avoid what is unpleasant and as a result, we inevitably become enslaved by that mind trap.
What if we changed the way we saw the uncomfortable feelings that drive us away from our intentions. What if instead of trying to get away from them we saw these as parts of ourselves that are now anchors to the present moment. They are entry points into a space of choice, possibility, opportunity and freedom. This is The Now Effect.
When we use them as entry points we also send the message internally that we’re worth paying attention to. One thing we know from learning theory is that what we practice and repeat in life we get more of. The more we turn away from ourselves in difficult moments, the more we water the ideas in our mind that we’re not worth paying attention to, in other words, watering the seeds of unworthiness.
What can you do to remember that no matter what is happening in your life at any given moment, that is what you can practice being mindful with?
Maybe it would help to write down the quote and put it up at work or a home. Perhaps putting it as the background on your phone, we all know how often we look at those nowadays. Or maybe it would help to stay connected through an online community that reminds you of these important mindful lessons.
Be intentional right now and consider a way to create that 180 degree shift and change what drives you away from the present moments of your life into supports that remind you to be present.
As a little gift I’ll leave you with a practice. If you have 10-minutes go ahead and engage with this now, training your mind in mindfulness.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.