Monday, 9 January 2012
Like little boats on a stream – practicing mindfulness everyday.
One of my favourite topics to read about and experiment with is mindfulness and meditative breathing. One of the most important imagery tools I've found involves disconnecting myself from my thoughts and just watching them as if they were seated on individual tiny boats floating along a stream. It's extremely grounding.
To practice this, find a quiet room and take a seat in a comfortable position and just feel yourself breathing (deep, abdominal breathing!). Try to see your thoughts as their own entities, floating by on boats. Do not engage the thoughts, just watch them. It will be difficult at first, you will find yourself analyzing why your friend said that thing the other night, or the argument you had with your partner this morning. When you notice that you have begun to engage the thought, gently bring yourself back to the shoreline by counting down from 10 slowly.
Then stay again with the moment on the shoreline, watching but not boarding, all the thought-boats floating by.
It will be hard in the beginning as we are so used to just constantly thinking and over-thinking, ie: worrying. But the more you practice, the easier it will be to maintain a mindful state. This is only one aspect of attaining and seeking mindfulness in your life, but it’s helpful to think about your thoughts as things you can choose to think.
By imagining thoughts being physical beings, it makes it easier to push negative ones away. Pair this imagery-tool with the thought-monitoring concept. It will help you manage your anxious or depressing thoughts.
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