By Leo Babauta

In this webinar, I share key ideas I’ve learned about retraining the mind and I answered some awesome questions.

I’ve broken this webinar recording into two parts:

  1. Part I – My Talk: Key Ideas I’ve Learned About Retraining the Mind (See notes)
  2. Part II – Questions & Answers: I answered questions traveling reminders, examples of vows, pattern interruptions, prioritizing, Zen slogans, and more!

Part I: Leo’s Talk (with notes)

You can download this video here, or download just the audio. Or watch below.

Here are the notes from my talk (video is below the notes):

Sea Change Webinar: Key Ideas I’ve Learned About Retraining the Mind:

There are physical habits like walking, running, yoga, writing, and so on … but some of the harder habits are mental.

What if we want to change our mental or emotional patterns — go from negative thinking to gratitude? Go from shutting down our hearts to staying open to the difficulty. There are mindfulness ideas like letting go or not clinging, being more aware of the present moment.

These are difficult for a few reasons:
1. We forget. It’s really hard to remember.
2. We remember but we get in the middle of our patterns & it’s hard to change at that point.
3. We get stuck in our small self-centered point of view. It’s hard to care at that point.
4. It’s uncomfortable to change, and more comfortable to do what you are used to.

The problem is that we don’t have a good system for retraining our minds. This is something I’ve been working on for years, and diving deeper into it this year. I’m going to share some of the key ideas — gathered from Zen training but also science-backed ideas for learning & training.

Zen and Science Combined

The Zen training method, in my understanding, mostly consists of:

  1. Making a vow
  2. Practicing sitting
  3. Practicing in community
  4. Slogan practice (not Zen but Tibetan) with reviews

Making a vow means we’re going to be more intentional and be more devoted. This is very important.

Practicing in community will make it easier to remember and keep you on track when you’re feeling like wavering.

Daily sitting practice means there’s a time when you’re intentionally practicing and makes it much easier to have concentrated practice, rather than sporadic practice that you might forget.

Slogan practice — which might consist of writing a slogan on a card, having it somewhere you might see it, and then reviewing how you did at the end of each day — helps with the problem of remembering.

Those are all tremendously helpful. But we can add some modern ideas into the mix.

These are some science-backed ideas to add to the Zen/Buddhist ideas:

  1. Noticing your triggers — what triggers your old pattern?
  2. Interrupting the pattern — dropping into the body.
  3. Remembering more often with more visual cues.
  4. Having a practice buddy to practice each day with, check in daily.
  5. Feedback — what feedback are you giving yourself for success? Praise your success.
  6. Reframe the discomfort as growth.
  7. Immediate feedback from a partner.
  8. Interrupt forgetting.
  9. Move closer in small steps.

Part II: Questions and Answers

You can download this video here, or download just the audio. Or watch below.

Questions answered in this video:

Lojong slogans: