In meditation, we often focus on working with our attention – perhaps guiding it to our breath or any other object that we choose as the focus of our practice – and also on our attitude of impartial observer, not getting attached in our the thoughts (or anything else) that we are observing and keeping the balanced mind.
But sometimes the third important component of mindfulness slips our mind. What is the third component, you are wondering?
It is the the intention of compassion, acceptance and kindness in our practice.
When we do focused practice on generating compassion – such as Metta, the loving kindness meditation – then surely we keep this aspect in mind.
But what about when we practice with ourselves?
Are we treating our mind with the same kindness we would show to others?
Or do we sometimes fall in a trap of being impatient and frustrated with our “restless” mind?
Annoyed that it is not “listening to us”?
Whenever that happens, what we are practicing in our meditation practice in that moment is impatience, frustration and annoyance!
Not exactly the things we wish to grow, are they? 🙂
To play with that intention and to bring in more gentleness and patience into our practice without overthinking it, there is a beautiful trick that you can use: act towards your mind as you would towards a playful puppy!
If you would have a young puppy who doesn’t know it’s place, you would shout at it, would you?
Every time it would wander out of it’s place, you would grab it and bring it back – but if the puppy would be cute, playful and friendly, you would probably pet it a bit on the way. If you would try to shout at it, you would only learn that this scares the puppy – it makes puppy looks miserable, and that makes you miserable too.
Instead, a healthy dose of consistency and gentle firmness does the trick so much better!
How about training your mind like you would train a puppy?
Don’t shout at it, you will only scare it. Don’t be harsh – it is such a cute and beautiful mind 🙂
Realise that it is in it’s nature to wander, to be playful and running around.
Try being gentle, persistent, clear in your intention, consistent, and remember that every time your mind wanders away is actually a great new opportunity to practice bringing it back to focus. Which is exactly THE thing you want to practice in a meditation!
So, in a way, each time when your mind inevitable wanders off, it is just giving you an opportunity to make your practice even stronger – of course, if you use that opportunity by acting gentle yet firm.
Take a moment to reflect:
What would happen if you would bring this attitude of gentleness and friendliness to yourself? How would that make your practice different?
And what if you took the same mindset out of mindfulness practice and bring it into your everyday life?
P.s. Just be careful not to get angry or frustrated at yourself in moments when you are not being able to be gentle and patient with your mind 😀 In a way, you are a puppy too 😀
How about you?
What do you find most challenging bit of your meditation practice?
Does this “train your mind like a puppy” helps?
Do share in comments – but also to start a conversation in our Positive Psychology Tribe virtual community for meaningful conversations.
Looking for more ideas for easy, quick, and simple mindfulness exercises?
Download the “Mindfulness Made Easy” free ebook