Two Monks walk into a bar and sit down to order sake ( they are Japanese Zen Buddhist monks who have been known to have a sip now and then).
The 1st monk turns to the other and asks ‘so why do you meditate?’
The 2nd one looks at him and replies ‘to get into the present moment’
The 1st monk then laughs and says ‘where else can you be?’
Now think to yourself….
Can you ever really be anywhere but right here right now? Is the present moment something we get into or is it an ever present experience we acknowledge.
A lot of my clients make the common mistake of assuming that mindfulness is about relaxation. Or that mindfulness meditations are relaxation techniques. Although relaxation is a by product of mindfulness practice it is not the main intention. Obviously most people come to mindfulness to learn how to calm down and relax. But this common misconception can create a lot of barriers to our practice.
We practice mindfulness to create acceptance and non judgement around our experience and this helps with our particularly difficult emotions. The reason we practice acceptance and non judgment is because the alternative to this is resistance and denial. These emotions take us away from our pure conscious state in the form of our awareness being 100 % engaged in our thinking and stressful emotions. So the natural by product of objectifying our emotions and thoughts is a reduction in stress and higher levels of well-being. This is the opposite to distraction, a lot of us use distraction to self regulate our emotion whether is zoning out on Facebook or using drugs or alcohol to drown out our dissatisfaction of our lives.
Mindfulness embraces these difficult moods and attitudes and moves us towards acceptance in our lives. Sometimes when we practice mindfulness and meditation it can feel like we are opening our closet full of skeletons. Some people even report feeling more stressed after practicing mindfulness however this is natural in the initial stages of our practice. If we have not payed attention internally before its only natural that when we do our feelings will seem amplified.
So stay strong with the practice as you’re efforts will pay off and relaxation and well-being will be the effect of the cause which is changing you’re relationship to you’re thinking mind and emotions.