February 8, 2020
DAILY LIVING WITH MINDFULNESS PART ONE
Mindfulness as a Pathway to Serenity and Happiness
In today’s world, we are bombarded with so much more information and multimedia distractions than ever before. The level of scarcity for time has never been at this point we’re at today. We have become less patient and our attention spans have gotten shorter. We have become more demanding out of our time, and how it’s spent.
“In this fast-paced dynamic culture, serenity has become a luxury.
This is not to speak against how our modern lifestyle has evolved. On the contrary, I would simply like to share my journey of how I have come to terms with a “fast-paced” working environment and lifestyle, while still maintaining inner serenity whenever I possibly can.
I have personally experienced more joy and have encountered fewer emotional burdens as my mindfulness muscle has grown in strength over time. Which brings me to the topic of our post today…
How to Gradually Adopt Mindful Living to Attain Inner Serenity on a Daily Basis
This article is tailored towards those who are on the quest to find their own inner serenity.
This quest is a gradual process; meaning it doesn’t totally disregard the liveliness and fun that life has to offer. Rather, think of this more as a growth journey where we learn to use discernment in order to identify and address what we truly need at any given moment in time.
For example, when we enter times where we feel down, doing something fun can help lighten us up; whereas stillness might make us feel lonelier.
At other times when things get chaotic, serenity and peace of mind are what we yearn for in order to gain that calm and collected sense of well-being. Which in turn, assists us in making better decisions as we navigate certain situations.
Nothing needs to be concrete or absolute throughout these different moments. Instead, things should continue to fall within a spectrum. Similar to life’s own ebbs and flows.
“Practicing mindfulness is about mastering how to use discernment in deciding when embracing serenity is needed, and when adding liveliness could spice things up.”
— Mim Chawimon
As our mindfulness muscle strengthens, we become more equipped to make better decisions and to show up as proactive players in our own lives. Which is more pleasant than becoming reactive prey to the external factors we often encounter, whether it be from people or situations.
In my earlier post series, I shared how to attain a more fulfilling life that sets ourselves up for happiness. In this series, I want to focus on how to strengthen our mindfulness muscles so that we can purposefully and consciously “pause” before acting. Which in turn will better cultivate our ability to make the choices that lead us more consistently towards happiness.
How It All Started…
My journey towards mindful living started almost fifteen years ago when my sister asked me to join her at a meditation retreat.
At first, I was very hesitant to accept her invitation. I was a college student at the time and in my mind a meditation retreat sounded boring and restrictive, especially when I just wanted to have fun. However, since my sister kept asking me, I eventually gave in and went with her.
I went into that retreat with zero expectations and since I’m the type of person who likes to stay open-minded when it comes to new experiences, I went ahead and followed along and tried to do what they instructed us to do without too many questions or doubts. I figured since I was already there I might as well try and see what would happen.
Thanks to that open-minded, zero expectation attitude, I started to get a glimpse of what it was like to experience deep inner peace during that retreat. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. The best way for me to describe this experience is that everything suddenly became calm and clear as I entered a state of bliss where I could just simply “live and be.” I Began to refer to this feeling as “Serenity”.
Even though it’s a constant growth journey when it comes to maintaining “serenity,” I’ve always been grateful and thankful to my sister for having been the one to nudge me towards this pathway.
After that first retreat, I returned home and resumed my busy lifestyle. Yet, it didn’t take long for me to realize that the blissful experience I had was fading away and harder to attain in a real-world setting.
“The difference this time though was that I had been equipped with the knowledge that finding and maintaining “serenity” would be something crucial for my longterm wellbeing.”
In my quest for finding and maintaining this inner peace I decided to find time to return to the same retreat a few times a year. However, in between those retreats I would fall back into the same constantly busy state of mind.
Then I tried to challenge myself once I returned home from a retreat to meditate an hour every day (the typical duration for one session at the retreat). But by the end of my second, third, and fourth retreat, as you might have guessed, my attempts to maintain this meditation practice failed quite terribly. Lol!
Every time I returned home, I’d make it maybe one-week maximum each time before the “excuses” started taking precedence over my meditation time.
These were the common, every day variety excuses such as, “I had a long day of work and need a break.” Or, “It’s too late now, I should probably go to bed.” The list went on…
That was, until I learned an important key factor for finding meditation success in my daily life…
Consistency is the Key
I got a little smarter and realized that I was expecting too much of myself during my meditation practice sessions. It was like my muscles could only lift a 2 kilo dumbbell, but I was trying to force it to lift 5 kilos!
Once it finally made sense as to why I could not sustain my routine consistently, I changed my target goal. Instead of trying to practice for one hour every day, I chose a more comfortable and realistic goal that I could commit to. So I committed to a daily practice of only 15 minutes per day, and that made it easier for me to remain consistent.
“The key is to practice meditation daily. Consider this as more of a game of consistency, than one of intensity.”
“Living Mindfully” is a lifestyle, and that means it should be incorporated on a daily basis, whether it be a big or a small dose. This is similar to how going on a crash diet takes less effort than it would take to permanently alter eating habits.
In the same way, changing lifestyles requires much more effort than practicing at a week-long retreat. Daily effort is required, and so is consistency. If we want to live more mindfully, we need to keep showing up for ourselves every day. Yes, that takes a lot of commitment and practice. But what I can share with you is that it IS worth the effort!
Every day I am grateful that I made the effort to invest in myself over these last fourteen to fifteen years. And the results of those efforts are what inspires me to share this with you today.
In my next post, I’ll be sharing with you how I meditate and how you can follow a similar pathway towards living mindfully.
Take care until next time!