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Navigating A Changing World With Mindfulness

Change.

It has always been part of your life.

Right now there may be more of it around than usual. Yet you've navigated change before, and I know you can do it now too.

The biggest step in managing any kind of change smoothly is to NOTICE any resistance you have to it. This resistance part is what often gets missed. When it's missed, we become prone to regrettable reactivity, and unnecessary fear, anger and grief.  

We come to navigate change when we can ACCEPT it has arrived. 

This doesn't mean we have to like it. It's just that we first acknowledge that change has occurred.

It is what it is.

Any resistance to what is will feel constrictive. It might present in your body as tension or as shallow breathing, for example.

Resistance to change may also present in the form of a tense thought or judgement, or perhaps in the rising energy of an emotion like fear or anger.

Sometimes the first sign that we're in resistance to the change that's around, is noticing feedback from the world around us. Common signs are when you've been in more conflict with others than usual. Or you feel like you're 'taking others' energy on'.

In the first of the Four Noble Truths, Buddha teaches us that 'suffering exists'.

Usually, our suffering is not born from the event itself occurring, rather from the fact that we're in resistance to the event, thing, person or situation.

There ain't no changing the event or person! (have you tried that one too?)

Others will be as they are. Your health will change. Accidents and unpleasantries will happen. Bad times will turn into good times.

Life WILL change.

Buddha goes on to teach that there is an origin of the suffering (usually our relationship to the situation or person that has 'got our back up'). He teaches us that it IS possible for the suffering to end - and goes on to lay out a pathway for that.

The first step in navigating change mindfully is to realise and ACCEPT any resistance to the change.

When we skip the 'acceptance of resistance' bit, we're at war with reality. 

It's what causes all sorts of problems in relationships, between countries, and with our own peaceful connection to body and mind. It's what creates disharmony and breaks our spirit.

Even positive psychology doesn't help e.g. 'just think positively!' or affirming 'I am happy!' (it has its place, but only offers a temporary, band-aid solution without the acceptance step coming first).

Waiting for things to 'go back to normal' or to turn out the way you THINK they should, is a sign of present-moment resistance.

It's time to get comfortable with change.

The solution lies in present-moment awareness of everything that is (both the pleasant and the unpleasant).

Here's how to do it using the three steps of mindfulness:

  • NOTICE if, in any way shape or form, you're resisting, avoiding or forcing things to be different, from how they are right now.
  • WATCH OVER any resistance/aversion/striving that you discover. Can you find it located somewhere in your body? Are you holding your breath or shallow/heavy breathing?
    Remember, the body keeps the score!
  • OBSERVE WITH CURIOSITY anything you discover within yourself, to neutralise any self-judgement about the state you've found yourself in. Keep it light by saying, 'Isn't that interesting that I'm in such opposition to what's going on right now!' or something to that effect.

Once you've acknowledged any gaps between what's going on right now and your willingness to accept life as it is, now you're in a great position to manage the change effectively.

You can CHOOSE a compassionate response.

You can CHOOSE a way to communicate with others that is kind, and still maintain your own integrity and sovereignty.

You can CHOOSE to move forward gently with each decision you make (the harder you are on something, the quicker you'll wear it out!)

You can CHOOSE something different if you find you're no longer able to breathe while upholding a position/principle/judgement/thought.

To oppose anything that exists in this present moment is great cause for suffering.

The reality is - it is what it is....for the moment.

This space that you'll create - the space where you get to CHOOSE your next response - is a very wise space to operate from when it is done with INTENTION.
 
You'll make all sorts of wise, purposeful changes for the betterment of the world, when you first create the space to accept change, then take your next steps with INTENTION.
 
One incredibly helpful tool to support wise and intentional choice is MEDITATION.
 
It's the motivation behind reinstating monthly meditation evenings on the Sunshine Coast, and it's what's driving the desire to support those that know meditation, to spread the word and teach meditation to others.
 
Meditation is a tool, supporting us to look within and notice how we're presenting at any given moment. 
 
Meditation supports us to press pause on our everyday life and enquire more deeply:
  • Is there any unnecessary tension inside me (body, breath, mind)?
  • How might this tension be expressing itself in my everyday life? i.e. where might I be in resistance to what's unfolding right now?
  • Is the constrictive energy a call to action, in a way that will be of benefit to me or others in life? Or is it unhelpful in this regard?
  • How can I cultivate more intentional qualities that I desire to live my life by? e.g. compassion, kindness, peace, joy.
Whether or not you meditate, take a moment to consider what else you could do to create more space, to be AWARE of your state of being in any given moment. 
 
You'll access your CHOICE of response in the space in-between.
 
Observing our own ways of operating in life, and then examining how our ways relate to the ways of the world - this is where a compassionate and kind future is at.
 
This is the way that we'll all come to choose a whole-spirited, heart-full, sustainable and compassionate response to a changing world, for the benefit of the whole.
 
 
Tap here to find out more about becoming a Meditation & Mindfulness Teacher (also a great program for a deeper immersion into these modalities and your own personal/spiritual development).
 
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