Mindfulness practiced throughout the ordinary parts of your day is better than standard meditation
Initially I thought mindfulness was a gimmick.
I think this is most true when mindfulness is marketed as pure stress relief. Generally this comes in the form of applying a meditation practice.
I would be spinning my wheels and setting aside x minutes per day to do some meditation from what I learned online or through trials of different apps.
I was still pretty unsettled. Half the time I was fighting my anxiety about the problems that were piling up whenever my attention shifted away from a blue dot.
It was then most comforting when I came to an obvious realization.
My problems needed actual tactical and strategic attention and resources.
I freed myself of thinking about meditation and mindfulness as stress reliever tools.
It wasn't until I came across Gelon Thubten's A Monk's Guide to Happiness that I understood why.
According to Thubten, when meditation is marketed as a stress reliever, it tends to be ineffective due to the laws of pushing and pulling.
The moment you decide that this practice is going to relieve all of the anxieties and negativity you are experiencing, you are also deciding to push those feelings away and to pull more peace into your mind. Thubten argues that the act of pushing and pulling is the source of unhappiness.
I started to shift my practice of mindfulness away from the checkbox mentality of getting meditation out of the way in the morning. Instead I started to incorporate it different moments I was experiencing.
I had to drop the checkbox mentality of getting meditation out of the way in the morning.
The main argument in Thubten's A Monk's Guide to Happiness is that being mindful throughout the day is more beneficial to our well-being than time set aside for meditation.
I always thought that mindfulness was a practice that you set aside time for that transcends you.
Happiness for a monk? A fullness and freedom rooted in the present moment.
I find my mind wandering, and I have learned that this is natural and ok.
I find it to be very similar to the process of learning new things.
If I misstep, I gently bring back my attention to the present moment.
Just like when I am struggling to remember something that I learned, I know that my neural network is becoming stronger. It would be logical that every time I struggle to shift my mind back to the present, that this muscle and skill is getting stronger.
I no longer have a specific mindfulness practice. I try to fully experience the present moment throughout the day. Increasing focus on the ordinary things in your life leads to one outcome: allowing you to see and feel the extraordinary.