By Leo Babauta
In this webinar that accompanies our Daily Mindful Practices course, I gave an overview of the direction of this course, then talked about putting mindfulness into practice during the day â€” in productivity, health, relationships and happiness.
I also did a short guided meditation and answered questions.
Note: There was a broadcasting difficulty somewhere in the middle, where I kept talking and recording but wasn’t actually broadcasting. I finally figured it out and then started a new video stream.
Here are the notes (video is below the notes):
I. Overview of the course
- I talked about how the course is leading to overall mindfulness of all the things that are happening in our heads, and an easing of our suffering
- Daily practice is the most important thing â€” it is where you do the real learning in this course
- Video lessons are to help you explore in practice
- Daily challenges are to expand practice beyond sitting
- Beyond this course, it will be a matter of continuing practice, and then expanding it
- Some of these videos will make more sense if you watch them again after a few months or a year of practice
II. How mindfulness has looked for me in practice
- Relationships & emotions
* Yesterday got into a bit of an argument with a loved one, nothing too major but it didnâ€™t end well. In the middle of it, I dropped into my body to check on my emotions, noticed that I was frustrated and hurt, stayed with that in the middle of the conversation for a few moments. It helped to keep me calm, and I didnâ€™t lose my temper.
* Afterward, I was a bit upset and depressed. I went for a run, partially to clear my head. I dropped into my body a few times during the run, noticing that I was telling myself a story about the other person, over and over, and that it was causing me to be upset. I allowed myself to stay with my emotions, even though I noticed resistance to that. Staying with the emotions was helpful, because I saw that the pain wasnâ€™t too bad, just a low-level energy in my chest.
* It helps to do this practice of dropping down into your body when youâ€™re in the middle of a difficult conversation, or afterward when youâ€™re replaying the story in your head. It helps you realize that this isnâ€™t such a big deal, that you can handle it, and it allows you to feel the emotions without overreacting to them.
* Youâ€™re probably like me, where you donâ€™t really feel like working on your big tasks, so you go to distractions or busywork. Mindfulness can help.
* Use the drop-in technique, where you drop into your body and notice your resistance, notice fears that might be coming up, notice your stories, drop below them and just see how your body is feeling
* Instead of letting yourself run, you can pause and drop in, and then work despite the discomfort, and see that itâ€™s not so bad
* This is best done in little doses, but youâ€™ll get better and better at this
* The same thing happens when weâ€™re putting off exercise â€” we can set an exercise or activity to do every day, and when the time comes, use our resistance to the exercise as a time to practice mindfulness â€” drop in and see what youâ€™re feeling, get going despite the discomfort, which isnâ€™t a big deal
* You can then use mindfulness during the exercise to monitor your reaction to discomfort, see the stories youâ€™re telling yourself, and not give in to them
* The same goes for food â€” I pick small changes to make to your diet, like adding more vegetables or legumes, and then notice my resistance when Iâ€™m going to eat them, notice my story, eat them anyway, and see myself gradually adjust
* I also can mindfully appreciate my food more, eating it and really experiencing it
* When youâ€™re able to be more in touch with whatâ€™s going on in your mind and your body, it helps you to develop a more peaceful attitude during the day
* You can notice when youâ€™re suffering, and allow yourself to turn to it and really feel it
* You can notice when youâ€™re feeling groundlessness, and instead of grasping for ground, trying to practice being OK with it
* Overall this leads to less anxiety, less frustration
III. Putting mindfulness into practice
- Realize this takes practice, takes time
- Keep the daily meditation as your base practice
- Slowly start to notice when youâ€™re suffering throughout the day
- Start to work with that suffering in the way weâ€™ve been practicing
- Over time, youâ€™ll become more and more aware – leave yourself little notes to help the process
IV. Questions I answered:
- Was the freezing up a planned part of mindfulness practice? :-)â€¨
- Have you ever used or know anyone who uses EEG to help with the meditation (such as the MUSE headband)?
- While meditating I start concentrating on my breath but after a while I cant decide where to focus my concentration on. My “hara / dantian”, go through my body or upcoming bodily experiences
- How would you describe how you feel when you feel fully present in the moment? And is it natural to keep going in and out of that present state?
- Would you recommend staying “rigid” with my breath, or going “into” the upcoming emotions and thoughts without sticking to them (and returning to the breath afterwards)?
- In daily life, what do you do when you’re being mindful in seeing what is happening, however the thoughts/emotions are very strong and carrying you along?