Mindfulness

The bird of wisdom needs two wings to fly. They are awareness and equanimity.

SN Goenka

“I can’t meditate.” “My mind is too busy.”  “I’m bad at mindfulness.”

Everyone else

A favourite story of mine is about five blind monks and an elephant.

One day, in ancient India, there were five blind monks and an elephant. The monks were trying to work out exactly what the elephant was.

The first blind monk felt the trunk and said, “it feels like a branch of a tree. Therefore, an elephant is a tree.”

The second blind monk felt the ear and said, “it feels like a large fan. Therefore, an elephant is a fan.” 

The third blind monk felt the tusk and said, “it feels like a spear. Therefore, an elephant is a spear.”

The fourth blind monk… you get the drift. 

Of course, none of them were right. They were judging the situation solely based on what they could sense. Instead, they should have gathered evidence from multiple sources to evaluate the full picture.

This story always reminds me of the importance of mindfulness.

Sometimes, we’re the monks in the story. We react to politics, markets and situations with little evidence. It’s rare we ever see the whole picture in any given situation. We see a small part and frequently react without considering we may not be privy to everything going on. Ultimately, we can make mistakes and burn relationships

At other times, we’re the elephant in the story. These are the times others judge us incorrectly, it’s they who cannot see the whole picture. Rather than reacting to circumstance, we can choose to empathise, help these people gain the required evidence to make good decisions.  

Mindfulness teaches us to observe and respond rather than react; it helps us stay focused on what’s important.

Most of us know what we need to do to be successful. However, the reality of day-to-day reality of the corporate world presents us with a multitude of distractions. Using mindful techniques can help you maintain focus on what’s important, to ignore ‘shiny things’ and annoyances.

Through mindfulness we can learn to notice, and pay attention to, the often-ignored finer details.

We may miss the signs our employees or families give us when they’re unhappy. We don’t notice a niggling health issue, which can become a big issue.

Making time for mindfulness helps create the mindset we need for creative and innovative ideas, it encourages greater awareness of the smaller things that can too easily become big things.

Here are some techniques which are extremely helpful at work.

 These are the meditation techniques I use to maintain my productivity and focus.

 Try them to see what works for you. 

 Anapana: Observation of the breath

 Focus on your breath.

 Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath.

 Simply observe. Focus your attention on the sensation of your breath as it passes in and out of your nose.

 Don’t try to control or change your breath by breathing more deeply or slowly. Just observe.

 Benefits 

An immediate present state awareness.

The heart rate slows down.

Concentration improves.

The mind strengthens,

 Use it
At the beginning of a meditation session.

When you find your mind wandering during meetings.

If you find yourself getting emotional during interactions.

 

Vipassana: Observation of body

 Close your eyes

Move your attention to the top of your head

Spend some time observing this small area at the top of your body

Simply observe

Once you’ve observed some kind of sensation, any kind of sensation even just slight pressure, the feeling of the air against your skins or even a somewhat blank sensation of blankness, move your awareness down to your forehead.

 Again, simply observe your forehead

Observing any kind of sensation you may feel there, and then, after you’ve either observed sensation or a feeling of blankness, move your awareness down through to your temples,

your eyes,

your nose,

your cheeks,

your mouth,

your neck,

your shoulders,

your arms,

your elbows,

your wrists,

your hands,

your shoulders,

your chest,

your stomach,

your trunk

your back

your hips,

your legs,

your knees,

your legs,

your ankles,

your feet,

your toes,

Pay attention to the sensation of the body
Scan your body from top to toe, and toe to top
Observe any sensation you feel at the top of your head
Sometimes you may feel a tingling sensation or heat
Other times you won’t feel anything at all
Still other times you’ll feel pressure

 Move your awareness down from the top of your head

pass your attention through each part of the body until you reach your toes 

Once you reach your toes, retrace your attention back up through your feet to the top of your head

Benefits

Lowers stress

Provides equanimity

Develops discipline

Use it

During regular meditation sessions

While walking
Before sleep

Meta Pana: Loving Kindness Meditation

Bring your awareness to your heart
Send out thoughts of loving kindness

Imagine you’re breathing in all of your goodness into your heart

As you breathe out, imagine you are sending this goodness onward and outwards to others

  1. Send thoughts of loving kindness and protection to your loved ones, friends and family
  2. Send thoughts of loving kindness and protection to your acquaintances
  3. Send thoughts of love and forgiveness to people who may have hurt or harmed you. In your mind say, “I forgive you and I love you. I forgive myself and I love myself.”
  4. Bring your attention to people you may have hurt or harmed. Send them thoughts of loving kindness. In your mind say, “I forgive myself and I love myself. I forgive you and love you.”

Benefits
Improves social connection
Increases positive emotions
Decreases migraines and pain
Activates empathy
Decreases PTSD
Slows aging

Use it

Morning and night
When feeling agitation towards others

Visualisation:

Focus on one of your goals.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.

Picture yourself in a place 12 months from now when you’ve achieved this goal.
Imagine how confident and happy you will appear when you look in the mirror.
Imagine how great you feel having achieved the goal.

What does the environment look like around you?
What is different about your life having achieved this goal?
After imagining you’ve achieved the goal, see yourself looking back over the last 12 months and see all of the hard and smart work you’ve put into achieving your goal.

I want you to take a moment NOW to jot down a few notes.

Benefits

Engages the subconscious in helping you accomplish your goals.
Great for problem solving and reverse engineering.

Use it

To help maintain positive emotions.
When problem solving.

For goal setting.

Questions for you to consider
What came up for you?
Did you get any insight about something you should be doing to achieve your goal?

Which meditation technique do you feel will be most useful?

The Five Senses: Bringing your awareness to each of your senses in turn

Focus on the moment, and ask yourself:

What can I smell? 
What can I hear? 
What can I taste?
What can I feel with my sense of touch?
What can you see?
(Take a deep breath and open your eyes)

Benefit
Creates immediate present state awareness during times of anxiety and stress.

Use it
When overwhelmed.

If you’re feeling anxious.

Let us know how you go,

Cholena xoxo

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