Thank you to many of you for letting me know that your morning gratitude meditation is leading to you notice more things to be sincerely grateful for during your day. We’re not looking to trick ourselves, we just want to maintain an active understanding that our day is made up of what we occupy our mind with with. That’s why the meditation for week two was designed to draw attention to how much of our time our mind occupies with judging ourselves and others. This week we’re going to focus that even more to help you hone your meditating ability.
You’ll often think your mind can’t do something that it actually does all the time–it’s rare for us to consciously look at most of our daily moments. People will say they can’t keep a empty mind for even a second and then I’ll tell them to actively wait for their next thought and boom: empty mind, like a crane waiting to strike a fish.
This week you’re going to choose one aspect of yourself physically that you don’t like and that you regularly hide and/or criticize. Your waist, your hair, your eyebrows, your hands, your height, your wrinkles, your butt–it does not matter what it is as long as you criticize it a lot and it’s something physical. By being so focused you’ll have more success at noticing the thoughts you have about it.
Noticing them is one thing, stopping them is another. No one stops thinking/creating. It is not a matter of stopping our thinking it is a matter of shifting the content of our consciousness. We want to shift to open appreciation but that can be difficult at first so it is perfectly fine to stop at any better feeling along the way. So if you’re criticizing your physical self then you need to have some go-to appreciative thoughts about who and what you are. The act of replacing the critical thoughts with appreciative ones is a critical act of mental health.
Do not add to your negative thinking by criticizing yourself if you catch yourself thinking a historically negative thought. Recognize it as a success that the thought is now visible. It can now be hunted. You are aware of its existence. It needs you to survive. If you don’t bring it to life within your consciousness you don’t even have a need to divert your thoughts.
Remember, your suffering requires your participation. If you can’t quit beating yourself up entirely, at least leave yourself alone about this one thing for one week of your life. Seriously. You’ve easily earned it.
Be kinder to yourself and you will naturally become kinder to others which just as naturally leads to more positivity being shared with you. We can ride the thought spiral up or we can ride it down. It’s always up to us. Join me on the way up.
Ready? Figure out what it is, write it down and then for one solid week leave yourself alone. Start now.
Big hugs. You’ll do fine.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.