Mindfulness at work – how to practice?

 

“If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” ― Leo Tolstoy, Essays, Letters and Miscellanies

Earlier this week, I took part in an event for World Mental Health day, where we hosted over 385 people on two webinars to talk about Mindfulness. It was great to talk about what mindfulness is all about, but the biggest part of the discussion and questions from people was how you can practice mindfulness at work.

How do you practice Mindfulness at work? Does your work environment encourage you to practice? I was given the opportunity to describe how I practice.

Think about being present and not just on auto-pilot

  • Make a clear decision at the start of your workday to be present as best you can. Pause for a few moments before you start your work day to set this intention in your mind.
  • Focus your attention on the people and the discussions you have. Don’t just nod and agree. Really try to listen.
  • Don’t skim read emails, articles, and documents. I read from the bottom of emails back to the top to make sure I focus on the content.
  • In meetings, don’t do your emails at the same time.

Use Short Mindful Exercises at Work. I use the Three-minute Breathing Space meditation during the day, normally at lunchtime. 

Use short breathing exercises before or after meetings; telephone conversations or when you feel stressful

  • The exercise we shared this week was the 4,7,8 exercise. You place the tip of your tongue against the back of your top teeth. Breath in at your normal pace for the count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Then exhale for a count of 8. Repeat this at least three times and you will feel less stressful and more relaxed.

Use Mindful Reminders

  • Use some form of reminder to be mindful to take you out of auto-pilot mode. I use a reminder in my Outlook diary and set an appointment every day.Mine is set for 12:30 every day. It just gives me a little nudge, “have you been mindful so far today?”. Perhaps place a picture on your desk to remind you to be mindful. I have a mindful workplace mat that I glance at during the day.

Be a Single-Tasker

  • Single-tasking is doing one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is trying to do two or more tasks at the same time or switching back and forth between tasks. Nobody can actually multi-task. In reality, your brain is madly switching from one thing to the next, often losing data in the process.
  • Group tasks in categories. For example, put together emails, phone calls, errands, and meetings. Then you can do them all together in one block of time rather than switching from emails to calls to running an errand.
  • Switch off as many distractions as you can. Silence your phone, log off from your email account, and so on. Then set a timer for the amount of time you need to work, and record how much you get done. Do what works for you to focus on one task for a fixed period of time.

Pay Attention to the Small Stuff

  • When you are working, focus on the immediate task and the single element in front of you. Don’t worry about all the other tasks around you. Being present on.

“Pause, Reflect, Act” rather than “Fire and forget” on emails

  • We live such a reactive hectic work live that we have a tendency to “fire and forget”. When that email comes in from a colleague asking for help; raising an issue; complaining; or whatever, we have this insane habit of reacting immediately to the email. Get it done and out of the way. I see it all the time. People do not take the time to either read the email or to fully understand the context. You can end up in an email war of words. Instead, “Pause, Reflect and then Act” before responding. Take time. Even 24 hours before responding. I will even pen a response but hold it in my “draft items” for up to 24 hours before responding. It tends to take the heat out and you can more calmly review what you are writing.

Feel and Share Gratitude

  • Humans have a “negativity bias.” Essentially, this means that you’re much more likely to focus and dwell on something that’s gone wrong than on things that have gone well. Behaving in this way every day means that you ultimately adopt an excessively negative and unbalanced way of thinking.
  • Gratitude is the antidote. Plenty of evidence suggests that actively practicing gratitude makes you feel better and has a positive impact on your creativity, health, working relationships, and quality of work. Express gratitude to those around you, even if they do not respond. It is amazing how much a simple thank you and smile impacts others.

Cultivate Humility

  • Value other people’s opinions: If someone makes a point that challenges yours, suspend judgment. You can easily jump in and argue—but that implies that they’re wrong and you’re right. How can you be so sure? Stop and consider in what ways they may be right, too. This is true mindfulness in action—non-judgemental awareness together with curiosity and respect.
  • Show appreciation: When someone helps you out, in whatever way, show appreciation. Say thank you and really mean it.
  • Consider who has helped you right now: Spend a few minutes thinking about the number of people who have helped you at work today.
  • Humble people have a quiet confidence about themselves and don’t feel the need to continuously remind others of their achievements. Humility is attractive—no one enjoys being around those who continually sing their own praises, and most people enjoy the company of those who are willing to listen to them rather than talk about themselves all the time.

Finally, Make a Habit of It

  • For mindfulness to work at work, it helps to have both a formal practice of mindfulness – such as the 3-minute breathing space meditation as well as informal practices that you can do during the day. What is more important, though it to practice some of the elements I have mentioned every day. A little and often is far better than one practice, one day every month.

 

I would love to hear from you on how you practice Mindfulness at work. Do share your thoughts, practices, tips and advice.

I leave you with the following quote:

“Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.” ― Studs Terkel

An introduction to Sitting Meditation

 

“There are times when we stop, we sit still. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.” ― James Carroll

We all like simple, don’t we?

One of simplest and at the same time; most effective mindfulness practices is the Sitting Meditation. If you followed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, the practice is introduced in week four.  

So what is Sitting Meditation?

The Mindfulness approach to the sitting meditation is not sitting in the traditional lotus position, fingers and thumbs circled, gently going “ho oom Mmmmm” for hours at a time. Rather, it is a gentle, easy approach to sitting and focusing on something simple, like the breadth. The practice can take a few minutes or even up to an hour. It all depends on you.

What do you do before you start? If you have questions then the notes below will help. There are four key elements you need to consider:

  1.  A Place that is quiet and calm is key.

Find a good spot where you live, ideally where there isn’t too much clutter or distractions. It needs to be somewhere where you can find some peace and quiet. Not in front of the TV, or in the middle of the kitchen. Perhaps a spare room. I use our spare room as it is quiet and few people go into it.

  1. Next, is Posture and hands.

With Mindfulness, there is no right way or wrong way to practice. It is what is comfortable for you. Some people choose to sit on the floor. Some choose a chair. Me? I happen to sit on the edge of the spare room bed. Whatever, posture you feel comfortable in. If you suffer from back pain, what position is the easiest for you? You might want to sit on lots of cushions or very few. What you do need is a stable, solid seat, not perching or hanging over an edge.

Notice what your legs are doing. If sitting on cushions on the floor, cross your legs comfortably in front of you. If on a chair, it’s good if the bottoms of your feet are touching the floor and your legs a slightly apart. That is the posture I use. I like to sit without shoes on so I can feel the soles of my feet in contact with the carpet.

You need to make sure that you are sitting relatively straight, and do not stiffen your upper body. We all have a slight natural curvature of the spine. Let it be there. Your head and shoulders can comfortably rest on top of your vertebrae.

People ask, what do you do with your hands? I gently rest my hands on my legs. Not grasping the fingers together, but letting them rest – open and loose.

You can close your eyes or drop your gaze. If you choose to drop your gaze, drop your chin a little and let your gaze fall gently downward. You may let your eyelids almost close. You can simply let what appears before your eyes be there without focusing on it. It helps in my case as I wear glasses all the time. So I take them off and it helps.

  1. Next, is Time. Build the practice into your day.

At the outset, it helps to set an amount of time you’re going to “practice” for. Otherwise, you may never create the time to fit the practice in. If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as five or ten minutes. Eventually,  you can build up to twice as long, then maybe up to 45 minutes or an hour. I use a timer on my phone. Many people do a session in the morning and in the evening, or one or the other. I tend to practice early in the morning as this is the time I have build into my daily schedule to practice.  If you feel your life is busy and you have little time, doing some is better than doing none. When you get a little space and time, you can do a bit more.

        4. Finally, Attitude, Commitment, and Kindness.

Like anything in life, mindfulness meditation takes commitment and practice. It is well known that little and often is better than intermittent. So be prepared to practice at least four days a week or more. I tend to practice formal mindfulness sessions five days per week and walking meditations at the weekend.  When you begin the practice you will notice that you can “concentrate” on your breathing for a few moments and then all of a sudden a string of thoughts will flash across your mind. Your instinctive reaction is to berate yourself for not being able to “do the practice”. This is where the kindness to yourself comes to the fore. No matter how many years you have practiced and no matter the intensity, you can not ultimately control all the thoughts you have. It is like trying to hold water in your hand. No matter how hard you try, you will not succeed. Instead, don’t bother judging yourself or obsessing over the fact you are having the thoughts or the contents of the thoughts. Come back to the focus that the sitting meditation is centered on. Your body and your breath. You will go away. You come back. Time after time. Like the waves on the edge of the sea.

I hope these simple elements help make your practice a success. If you have experiences and comments on the sitting practice, do let me know.

The photo is one I took this morning, imagining myself sitting under the tree doing a sitting practice.

I leave you with the following quote:

“I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane. I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity created by the past in you. Just by being a simple witness of your thought processes.

It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts, passing before you. Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging, because the moment you judge you have lost the pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.

It takes a little time to create a gap between the witness and the mind. Once the gap is there, you are in for a great surprise, that you are not the mind, that you are the witness, a watcher.

And this process of watching is the very alchemy of real religion. Because as you become more and more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.

That’s the moment of enlightenment. That is the moment that you become for the first time an unconditioned, sane, really free human being.”

Osho

RAIN – You can not eliminate negative thoughts

““One way to eliminate self negating thoughts and behavior is by gaining more understanding through realizing that you cannot force others to see that what you feel is real.” ― Iyanla Vanzant

 

Of the 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts that we have every day, approximately 70% of them of them are negative. Just the thought of those numbers would be sufficient to make you feel depressed. However, one of the most effective mindfulness techniques that you can use to help manage those negative thoughts is the RAIN method. It’s a 4-step mindful meditation activity that can help soothe distress; reduce the number of negative thoughts; help lift you from a bad mood, and generally reduce the number and frequency of negative thought patterns.

So what does RAIN stand for and how do you use it?


R= Recognize

Recognize the thoughts or feelings that are hurting you. You can even give a name to them. Having a name for your thoughts and feelings helps shine a light on them so you have something to work with. Strangely enough, I call my negative thoughts”cow” thoughts. I am reminded that as cows ruminate, so do we on the negative. Hence the name.

A= Accept

Acknowledge that negative thoughts are your present reality. This is a way to put the feelings in the spotlight, instead of letting them quietly fester and potentially worsen. I recognise that something has triggered those negative thoughts. Something from the past that has come to the present moment. Or a thought and fear for the future, where I feel unable to deal with the thought. These “past-future fear thoughts” come to me in the present moment and I have come to say that they do not have any effect on my present moment reality.  

I= Investigate

Use a childlike curiosity to delve into these thoughts or feelings. Answer the “Who, What, When, Where, Why?” questions. What caused these thoughts? Are these realistic to have? What actions are possible? Try to investigate the whole scope of the feelings involved with the thoughts. For me personally, I sometimes write down the “5 W’s” and try to answer them. Taking the time to do this, actually stops the rumination and escalation of feelings. It makes me step back and reflect.


N= Not Self

The negative thoughts and feelings you have are not who you are. They are simply an experience you are having and will arise and fall away if you let them. This happens naturally. Your thoughts and feelings are impermanent. Knowing this can help you step back from them and move more fluidly within the ebb and flow of the human experience we all share that includes negative and positive thoughts and emotions that endlessly come and go. For me, my thoughts are not a reflection of the real me. The real me is always present. Here. Now. My thoughts are self-actualised memories and fears and hopes for the future. Not what I represent in the present moment. I hope that makes sense to you.

Anyway, the next time you feel a wave of stress, give this a try!

I leave you with the following quote:

“Only in the world of mathematics do two negatives multiply into a positive.” Abby Morel

 

The cynical view of Mindfulness

“Cecil Graham: What is a cynic?

Lord Darlington: A man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.

Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan

Much of the recent press coverage on Mindfulness has been overwhelmingly positive; where the benefits both to the individual, as well as to the wider community are widely highlighted. However, there is an element within the press that appears to be cynical about the benefits. Comments such as “it is just another self-help fad and will fade” or “it is being used in the business world as another load of executive bull”, are just a couple of examples I picked up on.

In some respects, Mindfulness and the practices that support it – both the formal meditation, as well as the informal, in the present moment focus – is not a universal panacea for all of the ills of people. Some people believe that it will cure their depression; or will stop them feeling so angry; or will make them a happy person. In business, it is being touted as a way to make the employee more productive and to get managers to be more focused on the work itself.

Mindfulness, of itself, is not designed to fix all these issues. There are many different forms and practices of Mindfulness meditation. Almost too many to describe. These include such practices as Breathing meditations. Body scan meditations. Sitting meditations. Sound. Thought. Light. Loving-kindness. Even walking meditations. The focus for all of these is being aware, in the present moment and recognizing the thoughts and feelings as they arise.

Then there are different types of programs you can follow. The two most common are MBCT and MBSR. MBCT, or Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is used in support of treating people with mental health issues, especially depression. MBSR, or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is used to help people “de-stress” and become more focused.

And just like food, people will prefer one type of meditation to another. Some people prefer to be in groups. Some prefer to be on their own. Some, prefer to practice in complete silence. Some prefer guided practice, where you follow instructions. Some, prefer to practice in the morning or in the evening. I know someone who can only afford the time to do it in their lunch hour at work.  

I have my own preferences and have my own preferred style of practice. It works for me, but equally, might not work for you.

The beauty is, nothing is wrong. All are equally valid.

The point is this, the practice itself. And just like any activity in life, it takes time, patience and the desire to create a long-term habitual change, that makes the difference. So if you have started practicing mindfulness and are finding it hard going. Or if you have tried it and given up, don’t despair. Instead, contact someone you know that practices Mindfulness on a regular basis. Or possibly, join a group session in your local area. Feel free to contact me for some help if you would like.

Finally, apologies for the small break in articles. I took some time off for Easter to recharge and reflect. Oh, and I spent quite a bit of time reading some great books.Or as I call them “brain food”.

I leave you with the following quote:

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Oscar Wilde

 

What on earth is Neuroplasticity?

“Life is half delicious yogurt, half crap, and your job is to keep the plastic spoon in the yogurt.”

Scott Adams

 

Something I have come to realize through my own practice and reading on Mindfulness is that our brains are not fixed and unchanging. Society has taught us that by the time you get to be an adult your brain’s structure; even the way we think; is fixed and unchanging for all of our lives.

In fact, it is not the case at all.

Our brain; like the rest of our bodies; can be consciously changed by our actions. Think for a moment, have you taken up a new sport or hobby as an adult? All of us have done so at some point. Whether it is cycling, running, swimming, golf, tennis, etc. Or perhaps, a new interest, such as learning a new language; learning to cook exotic meals, etc. Or even, if we have stopped something. For instance, smoking, drinking or eating meat. Throughout all of our lives, we are constantly changing habits and our bodies adapt.

So do in fact do our brains. Even our identities are not fixed, they change over time. Falling in love. Having children. Changing jobs.Moving to a new city or country. Everything has an impact both on our bodies, as well as our brains. Our memories. Our perceptions of the world around us.

The term, for the ability to flex and change the structure of the brain, is called Neuroplasticity.

Neuroplastic change can occur at small scales, such as physical changes to individual neurons, or at whole-brain scales, such as remapping in response to an injury. Behaviour, environmental stimuli, thought, and emotions may also cause neuroplastic change, which has significant implications for healthy development, learning, memory, and recovery from brain damage.

Scientific research has shown that the very structure of the brain can be changed in even a relatively short period of time.  

A number of studies have linked meditation practice to differences in density of the  gray matter that makes up certain parts of the brain. One of the most well-known studies to demonstrate this was led by Sara Lazar, from Harvard University, in 2000.

Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, has led experiments, working with a number of Buddhist monks, including Matthieu Ricard, on effects of meditation on the brain. In fact, Matthieu has been called the Happiest Man alive. His results suggest that even short-term practice of meditation results in different levels of activity in brain regions associated with improvements such as: improved attention; reduced anxiety levels; a reduction in levels of depression; feeling less fearful; significant reductions in anger, and even the ability of the body to heal itself. Some of these results can be seen in as little as seven weeks.

I have always been fascinated at how the brain works, and what we, as humans, are capable of. I watched a great programme from the BBC, that I would recommend it to you. if you get a chance, check out:

The Brain with David Eagleman 

David explores how the brain conjures up the world we take for granted. This episode shows how the brain gives rise to thought, emotions, memories and personality. We Do not “see” the world around us, rather we reconstruct it moment by moment, based on our sensory perception, our brains ability to chunk together information, and even the ability to delete and distort reality.

 

I leave you with the following quote……. which made me laugh at the modern world we have.

“She got her looks from her father. He’s a plastic surgeon.”

Groucho Marx

 

A year of Mindfulness and its impact

“Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.” ― Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

As this year races towards its conclusion, I am taking some well earned time away from the normal work world to spend time with my family and friends. At the same time, I am reflecting on what a year it has been and how much my practice of Mindfulness has made a difference. If you practice Mindfulness, are interested in its impact, or curious as to some of the benefits its practice might bring to you, your world and your friends and family; I’d urge you to read on

I have been practicing Mindfulness on a regular basis now for more than a year. My formal meditation practice is regular, at least five times a week. It follows a routine I have developed first thing in the morning before I get ready to go to work. However, I also experience the “in the moment” elements of Mindfulness during the day. The short pauses to focus on the breath; the quiet reflections when I am stationary in traffic; even the being in the moment when I am in a meeting or discussion with people. It comes to me when I am relaxed, as well as when I am stressed by work and life in general.It has become a way of being for me. I am not perfect at it. Far from it. Many experts and people that have been practicing Mindfulness for years say you are always on a journey and I can agree to that.

So what are some of the results and changes I have noticed? What have others noticed around me? They include:-

  • Stress: My levels of stress are much lower than ever before. Even major changes in the work environment have not made me so stressed as once they might have done.
  • Calm and centered:. Whether at work or at home, I am much more calm and centered. There have been very few – I can count them on one hand – moments where I have become angry and frustrated. Even when I have gone “off the deep end” it has been more of a shallow dive than a “full twist, half tuck, and belly flop” moment.
  • Accepting and forgiving: My levels of tolerance and forgiveness have improved dramatically. I am much more likely to listen, accept and move on. I love the following prayer and have a copy of it printed out at my desk at work:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference. Reinhold Niebuhr

  • Being present: I find that I have moments of quiet reflection and am just happy being. It is a strange feeling but very rewarding. Even when someone has cut me up in a traffic jam, I just sit and accept.
  • Open and engaged: I feel that I am more open to the differences that exist in all of us. More engaged in conversations and much more likely to feel part of the flow.
  • Ruminating: I love this word. I imagine a cow sitting and chewing the cud for hours on end. That is what most of us do with our thoughts. With 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts going round in our heads every day, there is no wonder that we can get caught up in a rumination. I have found mine are a lot less. Yes, I still have them and can find myself getting caught up in thoughts and feelings, but it is a lot less than i used to do and the impacts are lower.
  • Finally, Meat: This is a strange one. I went to a talk given by Matthieu Ricard earlier in the year. I wrote a blog post about the experience and the impact it had on me. It was titled: An evening with Matthieu Ricard”. There is YouTube video of it as well. You can even see me standing up before the event started [around the 10 second mark into the video]. It is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6SrjbRDP-Q

I bought his book “Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World” at the event and even though it is a massive 800 pages long, read it over the following two weeks. The two chapters on the way we farm meat and the impact on nature really touched something in me. I remember as a small boy going through the cattle market in Newton Abbot with my grandmother and aunt and seeing one of the marketeers punching a hole in a cow’s ear to insert a tag. It had a profound effect on me then and even now. So I decided I would continue to eat fish, but all other forms of meat I would give up. It has been hard. I love meat. I always have done. But for me, this is something where I wanted to make that small change in my world. I have tried for it not to affect the family too much. We still have tray bakes and roast dinners etc. I just do not eat the meat.

That has been the impact of a year of Mindfulness practice and its impact on me.

I would encourage to have a go at Mindfulness – either via an app for your smart phone; via a face-2-face class or one-on-one sessions; or even to read a book, such as “Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Professor Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman”. Please do let me know how you get on. Oh and if you want any help, do get in touch.

Likewise, if you practice Mindfulness, it would be great to hear from you as to its impact and benefits you have seen.

I leave you with the following quote:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”  ― Neil Gaiman

How you can forgive Yourself and Other People

““The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi, All Men are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections

One of the biggest issues we have, at work, in our social interactions and personal lives, it the ability to forgive and move on. Too often, people bring up issues and commentary about people that is generally conjecture and opinioned. We also individually beat ourselves up constantly when we fail to do something; when we fail to achieve a goal;, when we have failed in our own personal expectations or when we believe we have failed to meet someone else’s perceived  expectations.

Part of living a balanced life, I think, is the ability to forgive. Not necessarily forget, but our ability to forgive ourselves and others for a perceived transgression. For some people, forgiveness is a foreign land, never to be visited, shunned and avoided. They carry the hurt and issues like a snail carries its shell, permanent and unyielding. What then tends to happen is that the hurt and issues become so embedded, that they affect how the person thinks and feels and acts. More negative, less trusting, quicker to anger, quicker to resent, etc, etc. You may agree, or you may not.

I have always sought to forgive and move on. At times it has been difficult, but since taking up mindfulness, there is one of the meditations that is taught in the eight-week Mindfulness Stress Reduction program, the Befriending Meditation, that can really help you.

It is also known as the Forgiveness meditation. This is one of THE most powerful practices available. Having practiced it regularly, I can feel the difference in my normal day-2-day activities and the engagement that I have with people. I am less self-critical; more open; honest; forgiving and engaging. People have reacted to the change in me, by becoming more open, honest and engaging themselves. At work, when an issue arises, rather than seek to do the “blame game” on someone, I seek to understand what the issues was, what caused it and how to prevent it in the future. People feel more trusted and self-aware of their actions. In fact, the number of issues has fallen as a result.

So what is the Befriending Meditation? This is focused on helping you‘… bring kindness back into your life – kindness not just for others but for yourself too.’ This is where you are guided through the concept of self-acceptance and self-forgiveness. Once you have started to move along that path, you extend it to your loved ones, your family, etc.

The meditation focuses on these three key phrases as a gateway into a deep sense of  friendliness towards yourself:

May I be safe and free from suffering

May I be as happy and as healthy as it is possible to be

May I have ease of being

It is about repeating these slowly and silently in your mind. The analogy is further extended by imagining dropping a pebble down a deep well and listening for the ‘sound’ as it hits the water.  Being aware of any thoughts. Feelings. Or physical body sensations.

You are then encouraged to extend the phrase to holding a person, or even a pet, in mind who in the present or past loved you unconditionally. At this point, I think of our dogs and specifically Mitzie. She is always running up to me and giving me licks and showing complete unconditional love, even when there is no food involved!  Though if there is food, she goes nuts.

You are then asked to repeat the phrases while holding a loved one in mind and wishing them well.

May they be safe and free from suffering

May they be as happy and as healthy as it is possible to be

May they have ease of being

Next a stranger or someone you see regularly, perhaps on a bus, or at work, but you didn’t know their name.

May they be safe and free from suffering

May they be as happy and as healthy as it is possible to be

May they have ease of being

Next, and this is where is can become harder, extend to someone whom you have found difficult at the moment. Perhaps a member of the family or someone at work. For a lot of people, it is very difficult to remain calm, but with this practices, it leads you to it slowly and you feel in control.

May they be safe and free from suffering

May they be as happy and as healthy as it is possible to be

May they have ease of being

Finally, to close you extend loving kindness to all living beings on the planet, including yourself. That is the rhythm and approach. I would suggest you give it a try. It is amazing what you might feel.

May all be safe and free from suffering

May all be as happy and as healthy as it is possible to be

May all have ease of being

If you have specific ways that you practice or ways you have developed, feel free to share.

The specific Befriending Meditation for you to listen to, can be found at:

http://cdn.franticworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Befriending-Meditation-from-book-Mindfulness-Finding-Peace-in-a-Frantic-World.mp3

 

I leave you with the following quote:

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”

Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience