If you were asked to pick your mindfulness curriculum for the day, what would it be? If your job was to choose a practice or create a module to work through, based on your needs, what would be included? No need to follow any rules, no timetables, no prescriptive manual. What would it be?
Maybe there would be a practice to help deal with the anger you feel arise every time you feel unheard, unseen or dismissed by a close friend or even a family member, or learning to respond rather than react to that neighbour who pushes every single one of your buttons, or maybe it is simply to create the space to allow your mind to settle while managing a schedule that, often times, feels frantic and packed to the point of spilling over.
One of the jobs on my desk this week is to edit some video that was taken at our membership weekend, the Joyful Club. And one of the videoed sessions is Heather Regan Addis, author of the Mindfulness Based Living Course book and the upcoming From Mindfulness to Insight book, inviting the members to choose their own personal mindfulness curriculum based on responding to the unfolding moment and what it has to offer. In this way, what feels like a difficulty can be transformed into lush moments of learning.
I love this! It feels so liberating to imagine that rather than give my power away by allowing my reactions to the action of others ruin my day, or even worse, to allow the actions of my own mind, via thoughts that may or may not be true, ruin my day, I can choose to respond to the unfolding moment with a kind curiosity. And this could be my mindfulness curriculum for the day.
OR, rather than making myself sit on my cushion for 40 minutes after sitting at my desk for 8 hours, I can choose to walk out into the forest with the intention to notice the chorus of birds, the smell of the earth, the coolness of the damp air- mind settling in its own way, on its own terms. This could be my mindfulness curriculum for the day.
Imagine that each moment has the potential to choose mindfulness!
So, this week’s challenge is to reflect on how would you design your own mindfulness curriculum for the day/week. Maybe ask yourself these questions:
How can I bring my mindfulness practice into those moments that feel like struggle?
How can I respond to life with a mindful awareness that is kind and curious?
How might it be to choose to be present with each unfolding moment in a way that is open hearted and non- judgmental?
How might it be to honour my needs?
Once you have reflected on these questions, take some time to write down some ideas as a way forward, making a commitment to try to integrate your personal curriculum into the possibility that each moment offers.
If you are new to mindfulness and would like to learn how to settle the mind, respond with a kind curiosity, rather than react with harsh judgment or simply find your own way into the practice of mindfulness so that you might experience a bit more ease and struggle less, we have a number of Level 1: Being Present courses starting this Autumn in Samye Ling, Manchester, Edinburgh, London and even Online! Click here for more information and to start your training.