Practicing mindfulness is one thing, but have you ever taken note of where and when you decide to practice mindfulness? That’s right: are you mindful about when you decide to be mindful?
Why is this worth examining? Truth be told, many of us remember to be mindful only when it is convenient for us. We do it when we have a break, or we do it when we want to focus on a task. Many of us do it when we’ve scheduled it, such as during a yoga session, or while playing the singing bowl.
When we do this, we’re missing opportunities to reap greater benefits from mindfulness. To test the mettle, as they say.
Addressing Impatience with Mindfulness
The thing about patience is, it doesn’t sound as glorious as “zen” or “enlightenment”.Therefore, we don’t strive for it as much.
Patience is pretty much just staying calm when you’re being challenged to stay calm. That is, we only feel impatient when the circumstances are not conducive to calm. Think of traffic jams, a long line, or a child’s tantrum.
However, sitting present, fully immersed in discomfort, is the way through undesirable feelings. When we process our impatience, soaking it up and examining each moment, we can eventually become much more patient.
And that’s why we love waiting in line.
Mindful Questions for Impatience
When we feel impatient, our mind makes demands. “Move!” “Stop it!” “Be quiet already!” With mindfulness, we can carefully guide ourselves through questions that root us firmly in our impatience-inducing situation.
What’s going on?
Process what’s happening, and you’re already steps closer to acceptance. No matter how chaotic, mentally catalogue the sights, sounds, and smells that define each moment. It’s too easy to have our senses hijacked by a negative feeling, so do your best to approach this first question impartially.
Is this permanent?
Everything is temporary. As you sit in your present conditions, consider the impermanence of it all. We know the child will stop crying, the line won’t exist by tonight, and traffic jams are common daily events that always clear up. You’re never trapped, this is just what’s happening at this moment.
Am I alone in my discomfort?
Where does all of this discomfort really stem from? Truthfully, much of it comes from feeling it’s solely our lot in life. This is rarely the case. Think of yourself as part of a larger whole handling this situation. After all, the tantruming child also feels tested, the other cars around you are not moving, and there are people behind you in that long line.
In fact, some people would consider the cashier processing the long line, or the driver involved in the accident that caused the jam. They might be encountering more trying challenges than you are. That’s proof that the universe is not conspiring against you!
Over time, with mindful questioning, we become less susceptible to feeling poorly under certain circumstances. We even train ourselves to automatically resort to mindfulness in these times. And what is that called?
Don’t forget to comment below and tell us what tries your patience. We could always use more ideas about where and when we can effectively apply mindfulness!