By Leo Babauta
We all have our daily struggles, from stress and feeling overwhelmed or behind, to crises and pain and relationship difficulties.
They can get us down and feel like constant struggle … or they can be a place of practice.
This month, I am challenging you to become grounded in the midst of groundlessness. To practice mindfulness with whatever difficulties come up. To find sanity and joy in the midst of chaos.
Welcome to the Grounded Challenge!
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up here in the forum. Commit to doing this challenge every day for the rest of the month (no matter when you are starting).
- Practice. Try to remember to practice with any difficulties that come up â€” stress, frustration with someone else, disappointment with yourself. More on this in upcoming articles each week.
- Weekly check-in.Â Report on all of this weekly here on this thread in the forum, or in the weekly check-in in the Sea Change Facebook group.
So you try to remember to practice any time a difficulty comes up. That’s a pretty tall order, because they could come up at any time, and potentially all day long! Do we need to be perfect? Not at all. In fact, if you practice just once a day, you can consider that a success.
Just once a day, practice like this (this method might be altered in upcoming articles):
- Notice the difficulty â€” just observe that you’re having stress, frustration, disappointment, loneliness, anger, feeling bad about yourself, uncertainty, fear, etc.
- Notice the bodily sensation â€” drop from your mind into your body, noticing whatever sensations are in your body that are related to the difficulty you’re having. For example, if you’re feeling anxiety, the physical feeling might be tightness in the chest. Loneliness might manifest as an emptiness in your stomach. Anger might be heat radiating throughout your torso and head.
- Stay with it, with curiosity. You don’t have to get rid of it or do anything about it. You don’t have to run from it or ignore it. Just feel it. Just observe. Just be curious and see what details you can notice.
We’ll add some additional ways to work with the difficulty, but starting here will be enough of a challenge. You can do this!
It’s worth the effort. Read on for more about why it’s important.
Why Do This Challenge?
Our usual tendency is to run from or avoid our difficulties, or at best to try to solve them so they can end. This is a way of saying we reject a big part of our experience, we don’t like what life is giving us, and we want things to be different. We can’t handle difficulty, so get it out of here!
Instead, what if we started changing how we relate to this part of our experience? What if it just becomes a part of our lives, something to be curious about, compassionate with, gentle with, friendly towards? How different would our lives be?
With practice, this transforms so much:
- We become less stressed about being stressed.
- We are more at peace with whatever we’re experiencing.
- We are friendlier towards ourselves, more compassionate.
- Our relationship with others can change, as we become more compassionate.
- We are no longer afraid of anger. Or fear. They’re just experiences that we are comfortable experiencing.
- Whatever happens isn’t a problem. It’s just an experience to be with.
And much more. It’s an incredible practice, and we’ll go deeper into it this month. Join me!
And then read on: