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Want to be mindfuller?

Yes, I said mindfuller. Let me explain.

You want to live in the moment and be your best self at all hours of the day.

You want to be able to meditate for hours straight and switch into full Buddha mode at a moments notice.

You want immense powers of concentration and empathy, even though at times you hate your job, not to mention your boss — eugh, who’d want be more mindful around her?

And you want it all without spending 3 years living in some dark cave or mountain-top monastery where there’s no Netflix or bacon.

But like the rest of us in the West who happen to live in reality — along with Trump, Facebook, Brexit, and supermarkets — you’ve realized it’s not going to happen.

God forbid you’ve tried: you’ve downloaded all the apps, followed all the guided meditations, and even set up a nice little space with a puja table and zafu in the corner.

But it’s hopeless.

For starters, you’re not entirely sure you’re heading in the right direction.

I mean, it’s not like following a spiritual path in India or Japan, where students practice under the strict guidance of a master who lights up the way and smashes their toes with a bamboo stick whenever they’re led astray.

No, mindfulness practice is a much more disorderly and personal challenge — there’s no daily congregations or century-old sutras to keep you in check. So most of us struggle to find a path that’s right for us and get lost before even getting started…

Vipassana, Zazen, Metta, Transcendental, Tonglen, Qigong, Super unicorn heart chakra bliss explosion.

whatttttttttttttttt

And no matter if you end up chanting the name of the ancient Hindu God of Snails two-hundred and eight times a day or listening to a 3rd eye-opening binaural beats meditation on your lunch break, nothing seems to stick.

You know they’re good for you and everything but c’mon, let’s get real: most of our ancestors didn’t spend their spare time sitting full lotus and reverberating Om Gum Ganapatayei Namah (I bow to the elephant-faced deity who is capable of removing all obstacles).

Not that I have anything against Vishnu — he’s cool.

But the thing is, if the practices are completely alien to us, they don’t stick, and if they don’t stick, mindfulness isn’t cultivated and ultimately translated into our daily lives.

Shouldn’t practicing mindfulness be simple and feel natural?

And if you do find a practice you like, say doing one hundred prostrations to Buddha before every meal, it’s only a matter of time before you get bored or sidetracked and it gradually gets pushed out of your hectic schedule.

And there’s something else — and this is the one that really gets me.

You’re trying really hard to be mindful, but you’re just never in the mood for it — you never feel like sitting down and meditating or taking five minutes out to write down what you’re grateful for.

Figures. Your mind spends ninety percent of the day turned up to the max, and whenever you do get a moment to spare, you much prefer to slump down with a big bowl of caramel-ladened popcorn and find a nice heart-wrenching drama to watch.

Shouldn’t mindfulness practice be something you look forward to? Something that isn’t a drag or hassle but that fits seamlessly into your day-to-day life?

Sri Nim, a Vietnamese monk and student of the great Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hahn, kindly agreed to sit down and help answer a few of my questions about mindfulness and meditation.

Pen and paper at the ready and leaning forward like a loony, I bit my tongue, and asked: ‘So how often and for how long should I meditate for???’

He responded with a stare that could bore through steel.

‘Did he hear me??’

A few moments passed. A gentle smile gradually appeared on his face.

It stayed there for an eternity.

‘Does this guy know something I don’t?’

After I’d ran through every possible scenario in my head, ‘Is he meditating now? Is he dead??’

FInally, he responded with:

“Every moment”.

Say what?!

Okay, ‘Mr. Monk’, that may be true for you, sitting there in your loose fitting robes and everything you own in your handknitted satchel, surrounded by trees and birds and clean air all day and with nothing on your to-do list but eat, sleep and meditate.

But for me, living in a congested, chaotic metropolis, working a job that involves sitting on my but inside for most hours of the day, and owning a little device that sends me non-stop notifications that remind me how fat, stupid or stressed I am, it doesn’t work like that.

Or so I thought.

As I found out after many, many more hours of monk pestering, study, and meditation, the reality is, we just need a different approach; a little more effort and ingenuity on our part.

We need to be mindfuller.

All those years ago when the Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree, he didn’t have to put up with tourists, internet addiction, Junk Sleep, and all the other unique and depressing problems of today.

But he also didn’t have our knowledge of biology and neuroscience, or access to technologies like social networks and smartphones to flick a group message to his enlightened buds for a quick Friday night meditation sesh.

So, instead of denying the tyranny of modern existence and prancing off into the woods while reciting the eighteen Bohisava vows, why don’t we use the tools, knowledge, and environment of our time to help shape a new practice that works for us?

And if we do, we discover, in fact, that mindfulness is simple, mindfulness is enjoyable, and mindfulness can fit nicely into our contemporary and hyper-connected lives.

Sign up to my newsletter below and receive weekly tips for becoming much more mindfuller. You’ll also get the ebook: ‘The Mindful Workplace: 21 Simple Ways to Declutter Your Mind, Defeat Distraction, & Find Your Focus at Work’ as a free welcome gift.

It only takes a second to be mindful. And it only takes two to sign up 😉

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” –Jon Kabat-Zinn

Want to be mindfuller?

Yes, I said mindfuller. Let me explain.

You want to live in the moment and be your best self at all hours of the day.

You want to be able to meditate for hours straight and switch into full Buddha mode at a moments notice.

You want immense powers of concentration and empathy, even though at times you hate your job, not to mention your boss — eugh, who’d want be more mindful around her?

And you want it all without spending 3 years living in some dark cave or mountain-top monastery where there’s no Netflix or bacon.

But like the rest of us in the West who happen to live in reality — along with Trump, Facebook, Brexit, and supermarkets — you’ve realized it’s not going to happen.

God forbid you’ve tried: you’ve downloaded all the apps, followed all the guided meditations, and even set up a nice little space with a puja table and zafu in the corner.

But it’s hopeless.

For starters, you’re not entirely sure you’re heading in the right direction.

I mean, it’s not like following a spiritual path in India or Japan, where students practice under the strict guidance of a master who lights up the way and smashes their toes with a bamboo stick whenever they’re led astray.

No, mindfulness practice is a much more disorderly and personal challenge — there’s no daily congregations or century-old sutras to keep you in check. So most of us struggle to find a path that’s right for us and get lost before even getting started…

Vipassana, Zazen, Metta, Transcendental, Tonglen, Qigong, Super unicorn heart chakra bliss explosion.

whatttttttttttttttt

And no matter if you end up chanting the name of the ancient Hindu God of Snails two-hundred and eight times a day or listening to a 3rd eye-opening binaural beats meditation on your lunch break, nothing seems to stick.

You know they’re good for you and everything but c’mon, let’s get real: most of our ancestors didn’t spend their spare time sitting full lotus and reverberating Om Gum Ganapatayei Namah (I bow to the elephant-faced deity who is capable of removing all obstacles).

Not that I have anything against Vishnu — he’s cool.

But the thing is, if the practices are completely alien to us, they don’t stick, and if they don’t stick, mindfulness isn’t cultivated and ultimately translated into our daily lives.

Shouldn’t practicing mindfulness be simple and feel natural?

And if you do find a practice you like, say doing one hundred prostrations to Buddha before every meal, it’s only a matter of time before you get bored or sidetracked and it gradually gets pushed out of your hectic schedule.

And there’s something else — and this is the one that really gets me.

You’re trying really hard to be mindful, but you’re just never in the mood for it — you never feel like sitting down and meditating or taking five minutes out to write down what you’re grateful for.

Figures. Your mind spends ninety percent of the day turned up to the max, and whenever you do get a moment to spare, you much prefer to slump down with a big bowl of caramel-ladened popcorn and find a nice heart-wrenching drama to watch.

Shouldn’t mindfulness practice be something you look forward to? Something that isn’t a drag or hassle but that fits seamlessly into your day-to-day life?

Sri Nim, a Vietnamese monk and student of the great Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hahn, kindly agreed to sit down and help answer a few of my questions about mindfulness and meditation.

Pen and paper at the ready and leaning forward like a loony, I bit my tongue, and asked: ‘So how often and for how long should I meditate for???’

He responded with a stare that could bore through steel.

‘Did he hear me??’

A few moments passed. A gentle smile gradually appeared on his face.

It stayed there for an eternity.

‘Does this guy know something I don’t?’

After I’d ran through every possible scenario in my head, ‘Is he meditating now? Is he dead??’

FInally, he responded with:

“Every moment”.

Say what?!

Okay, ‘Mr. Monk’, that may be true for you, sitting there in your loose fitting robes and everything you own in your handknitted satchel, surrounded by trees and birds and clean air all day and with nothing on your to-do list but eat, sleep and meditate.

But for me, living in a congested, chaotic metropolis, working a job that involves sitting on my but inside for most hours of the day, and owning a little device that sends me non-stop notifications that remind me how fat, stupid or stressed I am, it doesn’t work like that.

Or so I thought.

As I found out after many, many more hours of monk pestering, study, and meditation, the reality is, we just need a different approach; a little more effort and ingenuity on our part.

We need to be mindfuller.

All those years ago when the Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree, he didn’t have to put up with tourists, internet addiction, Junk Sleep, and all the other unique and depressing problems of today.

But he also didn’t have our knowledge of biology and neuroscience, or access to technologies like social networks and smartphones to flick a group message to his enlightened buds for a quick Friday night meditation sesh.

So, instead of denying the tyranny of modern existence and prancing off into the woods while reciting the eighteen Bohisava vows, why don’t we use the tools, knowledge, and environment of our time to help shape a new practice that works for us?

And if we do, we discover, in fact, that mindfulness is simple, mindfulness is enjoyable, and mindfulness can fit nicely into our contemporary and hyper-connected lives.

Sign up to my newsletter below and receive weekly tips for becoming much more mindfuller. You’ll also get the ebook: ‘The Mindful Workplace: 21 Simple Ways to Declutter Your Mind, Defeat Distraction, & Find Your Focus at Work’ as a free welcome gift.

It only takes a second to be mindful. And it only takes two to sign up 😉

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” –Jon Kabat-Zinn

I’M JOSEPH, A BLOGGER & STUDENT OF MINDFULNESS-BASED STRESS REDUCTION (MBSR). I BELIEVE A NEW APPROACH TO MINDFULNESS IS NEEDED IF IT’S TO HAVE A REAL IMPACT ON OUR LIVES IN THE RAPIDLY-CHANGING TECHNOLOGICAL AGE.

I’M JOSEPH, A BLOGGER & STUDENT OF MINDFULNESS-BASED STRESS REDUCTION (MBSR). I BELIEVE A NEW APPROACH TO MINDFULNESS IS NEEDED IF IT’S TO HAVE A REAL IMPACT ON OUR LIVES IN THE RAPIDLY-CHANGING TECHNOLOGICAL AGE.

© 2017 | Joseph Pennington