November 25, 2013

Mindfulness Without Meditation

I heard a fabulous talk at an LDS Holistic Living Conference by Vern Cox about how to be mindful without having to spend hours meditating. Basically he said the outcome of meditation is to focus, so we have to clear ourselves from distractions.

Here are my notes:

Top Benefits of Meditation
1. Improved Body Regulation/Control (balanced fight vs. flight reactions so body doesn't react so easily to stress)
2. Attuned Communication: two people feel they are both being understood by each other
3. Improved emotional balance (not so many extremes)
4. Response Flexibility: not stuck with one response, but being able to choose from a variety of responses
5. Increased Empathy
6. Better Insight: ability to connect with past, link to present and how it may influence future
7. Better Fear Regulation
8. Enhanced Intuition: being aware of input from internal organs (heart, lungs, intestines, etc.) and other body sensations--body's wisdom/deep way of knowing. Our integration center of bodytakes this input and then influences our reasons and reactions.
9. Greater Sense of Morality: how our actions influence others

Now let's explain some things...

Emotion: the meaning we give to an event (emotions don't have a life of their own, but are tied to our reactions to new events). The action/urge that results is then how we deal with that meaning (not the emotion itself).

We first consciously create meaning as we have a new experience, but then we store those meanings into our internal storage bank (let's say our heart, though not literally)--and tend to categorize these meanings into general areas--which then become a habit pattern which we react to unconsciously when we repeat similar experiences to that first one. This allows us to have an auto-pilot of sorts (which is helpful for repetitive things that don't sap our energy, but not for situations we don't react well to which can re-emerge often if not taken care of). If we need to change bad habit patterns, we need to change first in our head and hearts to break those initial meanings we gave those experiences.

Principle: Meaning determines emotion
Be careful with how you judge and give labels to things, people, events. 

Tips for Moving Forward:

  • allow your brain to have time to tell you things it is trying to tell you--make time to sit still and let them come--instead of running around and keeping yourself to busy to listen (to yourself or others). Acknowledge them, then organize them as needed. Pen and paper to write essential ones to prioritize.
  • don't judge self for having distractions by trying to force your brain to shut off--or it will get use to shutting off. All of your history is important, but acknowledge which ones are self-defeating, negative, and try to change them. Judgmental-ness is always in the past--and you will close up/prepare for fight or flight/muscles tense/blood pressure increases--therefore your brain switches from the front/thinking part of your brain to the rear/storage part (where all your previous habit patterns were stored)
  • be open (honest with yourself), accepting, loving and even curious to new opportunities, people, events (within reason) and don't try to guess and calculate too much. If you feel you have some degree of uncertainty--that you don't already know everything--you are more humble and willing and easy to be taught. Therefore your frontal brain/creative part will be more active and engaged, rather than the rear, patterned, logical part habitually taking over).
  • live in the present. This doesn't mean to ignore the past. But the past doesn't mean it's fact, so take it as input, not truth. Instead, value present situations for what they are, without being devalued by the past, or other's perspectives. Be objective in the present.
  • imperturbability: try to live without feeling perturbed or irritated
  • read scriptures daily write personal thoughts and notes each time (to develop greater focus)
  • pray regularly (i like kneeling away from my bed--so I can't lean--or I get lazy in my thoughts)
  • write things down: to help brain let go of thoughts and feelings, official or not (journal or outline to teach--in teaching/sharing we retain more info and learn more deeply. So approach learning with that frame of mind/accountability)

Pure in Heart: When our emotions and impulses are Christlike

"Blessed are the Pure in Heart, for they shall see God" Matthew 5:8

As we seek to become a little better and a little more grateful let's  first look in our hearts and find those habit patterns that don't uplift and encourage and help us reach our Divine potential. Then we can greater see God's hand in our lives...and gratitude can fill our hearts with His love. Let's seek for the pure love of Christ, even Charity--the greatest of all gifts (moroni 7).

No comments:

Post a Comment