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:
- Part I – My Talk: Key Ideas I’ve Learned About Retraining the Mind (See notes)
- 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)
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 â€¦ but some of the harder habits are mental.
What if we want to change our mental or emotional patterns â€” 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. Itâ€™s really hard to remember.
2. We remember but we get in the middle of our patterns & itâ€™s hard to change at that point.
3. We get stuck in our small self-centered point of view. Itâ€™s hard to care at that point.
4. Itâ€™s uncomfortable to change, and more comfortable to do what you are used to.
The problem is that we donâ€™t have a good system for retraining our minds. This is something Iâ€™ve been working on for years, and diving deeper into it this year. Iâ€™m going to share some of the key ideas â€” 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:
- Making a vow
- Practicing sitting
- Practicing in community
- Slogan practice (not Zen but Tibetan) with reviews
Making a vow means weâ€™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 youâ€™re feeling like wavering.
Daily sitting practice means thereâ€™s a time when youâ€™re intentionally practicing and makes it much easier to have concentrated practice, rather than sporadic practice that you might forget.
Slogan practice â€” 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 â€” 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:
- Noticing your triggers â€” what triggers your old pattern?
- Interrupting the pattern â€” dropping into the body.
- Remembering more often with more visual cues.
- Having a practice buddy to practice each day with, check in daily.
- Feedback â€” what feedback are you giving yourself for success? Praise your success.
- Reframe the discomfort as growth.
- Immediate feedback from a partner.
- Interrupt forgetting.
- Move closer in small steps.
Part II: Questions and Answers
Questions answered in this video:
- I have to travel for work a lot (now staying in hotels for 3 weeks) with little control over my space and time patterns. I also travel light (20litres). What types of reminders to use?
Interrupt my pattern of getting upset by other peopleÂ´s comments and Meditate daily
- Could you give examples of vows? If it helps, the two things I want to work on are 1) dealing with my finances in a productive and not panicky manner and 2) generally being more positive
- So, you take 1 pattern at a time and focus on this. What happens when they build up and you have numerous patterns you are trying to interrupt. And you have LOTS of reminder notes!
- Similarly… Feel like i have too many oaths, so they get kinda squishy. Perhaps what i need to retrain is my difficulty with prioritizing the many things I want to change. How to start?
- I’m at the beginning of the process of prioritizing the habits I’m trying to change. Exercise, diet, work disciplines, or meditation? Which is the best to start with to kickstart the others?
- Iâ€™d like to start a daily 7-minute HIIT exercise sequence. Whatâ€™s the best time of day – I walk first thing, and presumably not after meals or before bed – and whatâ€™s a good trigger to use?
- Were you referring to specific slogans eg from Buddhist Zen traditions ?or is this about coming up with my own slogans ?
Lojong slogans: https://www.lionsroar.com/dont-give-up/