January 1st. This is the day so many of us choose to commit to new ideas and habits. Indeed, it’s a day where we’re encouraged - even conditioned - to set an intention for the whole year.
This is also the day you might start putting serious pressure on yourself. At Silent Mind, we’ve shared plenty of ideas for New Year’s resolutions. We’ve even talked about reasons why you don’t need one.
No one can say for sure how 2023 will pan out. Instead of heaping on the pressure to have The Best Year Ever, consider accepting what comes and letting go of what came.
That’s a sneak preview of the benefits we can enjoy when we are aware of Kabat-Zinn’s seven principles of mindfulness.
If nothing else, mindfulness is a judgment-free zone. Leave your feelings, opinions, and perceived failures at the door.
Recognizing when you are judging is a victory. Spot it and return to this moment’s breath as often as you need. You have endless opportunities to become non-judging.
What’s going to happen if you don’t transform into a self-development rockstar and complete Zen guru this year? Nothing, probably.
You can’t make the present moment hurry up. While you’re hurriedly endeavoring to emerge enlightened, you’re missing what others see when taking it slowly, at their pace.
The Beginner’s Mind
As we leave more and more years in the rearview, our perspective becomes colored by the collection of experiences they’ve given us. Not all of these are helpful.
Look at old things as if you are brand-new. A humongous roller coaster can look terrifying - or exciting. An angry person can seem mean - or vulnerable.
It all comes down to whether you’re going to let the past decide what you’re looking at.
Mindfulness helps sharpen our intuition. What we learn or realize may run counter to our old patterns. It may also deviate from the path chosen by people we admire or want to emulate.
Trusting yourself is important for staying the course. It doesn’t mean you can’t get ideas elsewhere, but it does mean valuing what your inner voice says.
Resolutions are all about goal-setting, right? It’s just another form of doing, planning, reaching, running, achieving.
It’s almost funny to see mindfulness and meditation as part of our goals and plans. While we acknowledge that it does take commitment, you must also commit to non-doing. That is, going nowhere. Be here now, regardless of the results.
Imagining the perfect, most ideal final form of a situation, job, personal attribute, or anything else? We all do it, but that does not align with mindfulness. We must also observe how it exists in this present moment.
Accepting things as they are right now is a better way to effect change. It gives us the knowledge that helps us build trust and make better choices. It can also show us what there is to appreciate right now. Acceptance lets us exchange desire for gratitude.
Minds are sticky little universes. Our objective, each day, is to let the thought pass. Let the worry wander on by. Reject the offer for a ride on the What-If Express or Memory Lane Train and come back to stillness.
If you can’t leave the thought behind, let it sit there. Accept it and don’t interfere. Don’t follow it somewhere else.
Speaking of letting go, if you have a singing bowl that’s no longer serving you, pass it along to someone who needs it! We have plenty of old favorites and new classics in stock right now to help send you peacefully into 2023.