Many of the mindfulness meditation programs out there seem to be repetitive, starting with the body scan every time for example. Or when searching for other mindfulness meditations I seem to get bored and crave variety rather than just the same loving kindness meditation followed by watching my breath week in and week out, the same thing.
Mindfulness as a Mirror
In the more recent years of my work as a trauma recovery and emotional clearing practitioner (and as a trauma survivor, wife, mother, friend, employer, mental illness sufferer and chronic illness recovering human being) I have uncovered the magnificence of mindfulness. Mindfulness is all about cultivating curiosity or beginner's mind. Sometimes cultivating the soil of our minds into fertile ground is harder work than we set out to do. We get bored with the repetition and hard work it takes to grow or expand, to sit on the cushion, again, and again, and again. Utilizing mindfulness meditation we can observe, then, how our mind responds to this particular activity itself. Does the mind want to run and quit? Does it say “This meditation stuff isn’t for me.” Does it engage and commit? Does it judge the work or the self as stupid, incapable or the process as simply “someone else’s cup of tea.” Has it defined meditation as something that is supposed to be enjoyable? (Is a workout really all that enjoyable during the exercising part? Not for me!) Are these perspectives similar to those in your life off the cushion? For sure. How often does your mind resist what’s right in front of you and desire to be somewhere you’re not? Does your mind often want to be somewhere else, other than right where it is? Maybe now that you’re still enough to listen, you can see the patterns of the mind that repeat (and repeat and repeat) in your life. Interesting how we resist the repetitiveness of meditation but aren’t even aware of the repetitiveness of our behaviors!.
Breath. Receive the breath. Receive the thoughts that ...come. Then choose again and again to receive the breath. Choose again and again to receive yourself. To receive the Spirit that breaths you.
Mindfulness is about, ‘can you bring it back to you?’ Over and over again this: how good can you get at bringing your attention - your kind loving attention - back to yourself? And for my fellow healing practitioners out there: As light workers we need to, it is absolutely imperative, that we do this "bringing it back to ourselves" in big, big ways so that we don’t burn out. And none of us do it enough: spend enough time with ourselves. A few short minutes a day can restore some of what we give and give and give away.
I recently followed a yoga video where the entire 30 minutes was one sequence of 8 movements (the sun salutation as it is called) over and over again. She kept saying “stay with me.” I kept wanting to do my own thing. She kept saying to find something different within the sequence to add or do differently like raise the arms in a different way or choose a variation to add to make it different. I kept wanting to go absolutely off course or stop the video and choose another. My response to the challenge she was putting her viewers up to was to rebel. To resist what the teacher, my trusted guide, was prompting me toward. To be in control rather than be guided. This was a representation of how I tend to respond to life. How often am I resisting my marching orders from my Soul, my Spirit, trying to do it my ego's way instead and end up facing the wrong direction? How often am I suffering through the boring meeting again or the drive to work rather than putting joy into my (often repetitive or even mundane) experiences by adding flare, personality or opportunity for growth? I could be listening to motivational or money management podcasts on my way to work every morning. I could study some new networking techniques or conversation starters for my meeting I’m dreading.
This way of perceiving the yoga video led me to ask: How often do I follow the urges to quit before I’ve learned the fullness of the lesson life has to offer? Alternatively someone who had simply done the yoga salutation sequence without adding anything, nervous to go off course, could have had a different awareness of how they respond to life’s challenges. But for me it showed how I tend to not trust that the (seemingly boring) repetitive course the Universe has me on is actually better than what I thought I wanted. Instead of refusing to accept the paths lain before me I can choose instead to see the challenges as opportunities or for exploring those rebellious urges that push me to attempt to deny what I’m being offered, like the rebel warrior I am by nature. Meditation, true mindfulness, helps me see how I respond to life by how I respond to IT.