Do you feel overhwelmed and at odds with your life? Does it seem like your mind rambles incessantly, as if you can never experience a moment of peace? Many people in our modern world describe their lives as frenzied and imbalanced. The good news is that it doesn't have to be this way. Many Asian cultures have understood something for the past several thousand years that modern people are gradually beginning to discover: That we have to learn how to work with our minds in a conscious and healthy way if we are to attract peace, abundance, and joy into our lives. Without a consistent method of cultivating awareness, we will be forever resigned to circumstances that feel out of our control. That is why so many modern people are struggling. We have lost the ancient practice of connecting our inner world of thoughts, feelings, and energy with our outer world of the circumstances we attract into our lives. Because of this, everything that appears seems to be random. We lose trust in the unfolding of the universe. As a result, our minds are filled with anxiety and worry, which only attracts more seeming chaos and confusion into our lives. Does this sound familiar?
The law of attraction states that what you focus on expands. If your thoughts and feelings resonate with anxiety and confusion, then you will attract more of those qualites to you through your relationships, work, finances, etc. The key is not to trick our minds into creating positive thoughts through affirmations or other methods, but to develop space around the workings of our minds altogether. Herein lies the magic of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is a method of becoming acutely aware of everything that happens within the scope of our perception. We shed light on what we think, feel, and sense. We make conscious all of the subconscious material that typically sabotages our good intentions. We don't try to change it. Instead, we just become extremely aware of it. We do this by sitting still and doing nothing but watching how our mind works without attachment or judgment. We just sit and witness what takes place within us and we start to draw parallels between what we believe to be true and what we are constantly attracting into our lives.
Many people, particulalry Westerners, try meditation for a period of time and then give up after getting frustrated with the process. This is because we are always looking for results. We are deeply attached to our expectations of what should happen. Most of us try to use meditation to shut our minds down, to dwell in a space of 'no thought.' If you try to use meditation to stop thinking, you are in for a rude surprise. You simply cannot do it. In fact, the harder you try to stop thinking, the louder and more obnoxious your thoughts become. This is not the way. The main intention of mindfulness is to be fundamentally OK with whatever arises as you practice. Whether you have a good thought or a bad thought, you give it the same attention. You remain neutral. By doing this, you stop feeding the energy of your thoughts. This is the first step in cutting through the vicious cycle of
thought-feeling-reaction that keeps so many of us habitually attracting the wrong kinds of energy, people, and circumstances into our lives. If we believe what we think, the energy of the thought will evolve into a feeling. The momentum of the feeling will cause us to react to it, which will create a cause in the world that will always lead to an effect. The effect will always be a reflection of that initial thought impulse. So, if your thoughts are habitually centered around negativity, greed, fear, or narcissism, then the effects you will see in your life will mirror this back to you.
Mindfulness is a process of becoming truly proactive for the first time in your life. Most of the time, we are just reacting to what we think and feel, which brings us endless cycles of conflict and disappointment. When we remain neutral to our thoughts and feelings, then we will gradually make contact with an aspect of ourselves that is spontaneous and awake. We will act (not react) from this place. We will attract what we truly desire into our lives based on a conscious process of heightening our senses. And, yes, at some point the mind does slow down. We experience wonderful and refreshing moments of peace and openness. The universe is naturally seen as a benevolent place.
Instead of our typical attempts to outsmart the universe, mindfulness is a humbling process of surrender and gratitude.
Cultivate space, endless space, around your thoughts and feelings. Allow your spirit to inhabit your body fully. Don't buy into self-defeating storylines and beliefs. Don't try to force yourself to see the positive in life or repeat useless affirmations that you have no innate connection with. Instead, taste the perfection of this moment as it is. If you can feel in your bones that you are fundamentally OK and that life is precious, you will attract much more meaningful relationships with people, better health, more fulfilling work and more prosperity on all levels of being. That is the power of mindfulness.
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Kevin Doherty, L.Ac., MS is a licensed acupuncturist in private practice in Superior, Co. where he teaches many of his patients how to meditate to enhance their health and overall quality of life. For more information on Kevin and his approach to meditation, go to www.mindfulnesscd.net