Sunday, October 15, 2017

Trying NOT to HATE Mindfulness

This first week the course wants us to focus on a daily practice of doing a body scan meditation.

I just did it for the first time, and I HATED IT! Every minute of it was AGONIZING. I've done similar meditations before and haven't felt this way. It felt too long, the voice wasn't soothing, and my mind kept going all over the place because I felt so BORED and DISCONNECTED.

The workbook says, "Don't expect to feel anything in particular from this practice. In fact give up all expectations about it."

Is it possible that I had an expectation? Probably. I expected NOT TO HATE IT SO MUCH THAT THE THOUGHT OF DOING IT AGAIN MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM AND RUN.

Interesting to me is how much more mentally anxious I feel since starting this course. I know I am not supposed to have an expectation but how about a "hope", as in, "I hope this gets better!
Maybe I am that one small percent of the population that actually responds the opposite to Mindfulness practices...

We shall see.

The other thing I am to do each day this week is bring mindful awareness to some otherwise routine activity. So on my daily walk this morning, I paid close attention to the leaves. I found their colors to be soothing and beautiful and interesting. I liked this exercise. This one didn't make me feel CRAZY.

I am committed to seeing this thing through because all of the research does support that Mindfulness training reduces stress and helps a lot of chronic conditions both mentally and physically. So far, I'm not loving it and not seeing how it will make much of a difference...I've studied Mindfulness on and off since I was a teenager but never formally, and I do worry that this formal approach will kill it for me; yet I know that this can only happen if I do the thing that all Mindfulness teachers say NOT to do and that is put expectations on this experience. I think that the expectation I have is that I will do every single assignment perfectly and exactly how it should be...I am realizing that I have gone into this with a non-mindful attitude—outcome oriented. In one of the videos I watched this week called "Don't Try to be Mindful" by Daron Larson, he says to "stop focusing on outcome" and yet that's all I am doing. I know that there is a certificate to be earned at the end of this course and that's all I see in my head. If I do this all correctly, I will get a prize and then I am something, I am somebody, I am important.

Right now, I don't know how to stop thinking that way but I do know that a mindful teacher would say, "Do nothing. Notice. Allow. Let." Notice the expectation. Notice the judgment. Notice the anger and self loathing in this and then keep going. Do this course because you value the process and along the way ACCEPT that you most likely will be kicking and screaming and fighting...and at some point, you will probably not do those things, but for now, you are and that's OKAY.

To read about Days 3 and 4, click here.

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