Each week at work, one of the dogs and I help to facilitate a guided meditation/imagery group at work. It seems that each week, I am reminded of some important tidbit that I may have forgotten or that I haven’t been putting into practice.
Last week, for example, I was reminded of mindful communication. That means actually considering what you will say before you say it, and then saying it, while being mindful of how it could be received. This involves the “I” statements and making sure that you aren’t being accusatory or placing blame. It is the hallmark of assertive, healthy communication, but is often forgotten in most hurried communication exchanges.
I think that is why I don’t mind texting and emailing as forms of communication because they afford the option of being mindful before saying anything. Texting has made me more clear and concise with my words over time too, so I appreciate its usefulness as an intermediary form of communication.
This week, we backtracked to discuss the benefits of meditation practices. This led us to discuss the reciprocal influences of our environments. Basically, if we are around calm, mindful people, then we are going to feel calmer and tend to behave more mindfully. If we are around miserable, negative people, we are likely to have increased heart rates and feel more anxious.
Along with that same thought, we discussed how we each could make a choice to be that calm and mindful person before we walk outside our door to be that positive influence ourselves. I do try to decide consciously to do this each time I walk outside of my house, and often simply choose not to walk “out there” otherwise.
In my house, I have created a calm environment, but I have that choice because it is my own house. The folks still living in a group setting don’t always have that choice, so we talked about how to create that space in their mind with a guided imagery exercise to conclude our group. In our minds, we can create such a space anytime, anywhere.
If you asked one hundred people if they have tried meditation, probably 80 of them would say that they “couldn’t” do it. I doubt many of them realize just how meditative a fair portion of our day actually could be. For example, sitting in traffic is an opportunity to be present instead of flipping off that car for pulling out in front of you.
If we are present, we realize that person might be in a hurry or not paying attention. If we aren’t present (being present is what meditation brings us back to being) then we are angry because they are “idiots” or they are keeping our very important selves from being somewhere very important.
Most people say their minds race too much to meditate. Of course our minds race, it is what they do when we are awake. The goal isn’t to stop the racing, but to be present within the racing and choose which thoughts we attend to and which we do not. I am not sure what the expectation of meditation for them has been in the past or what their idea of what it means is since that seems to vary when you ask around.
Meditation is a tool that can be used to ground ourselves to what is happening right now so that we can be mindful in what we have to tend to right now. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of different ways to accomplish it.