Mindfulness added to daily meditation helps build a reservoir of positive thoughts that help keep us rooted in the present. In learning to use the mind as an instrument to help promote peace, we will be strengthened to remember the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.”
Additional links for the prayer:
indianchild.com–St. Francis’s prayer
Mindfulness with meditation is easy to incorporate. Shimona Kee whose blog is Happiness is A Choice recommends adding them by:
“When, in meditation, you start to block off all the senses one by one, you are selectively paying attention.
Next, keep talking to yourself, telling yourself to focus on the sound of your breath.
As your breathing gets longer, deeper, louder, and more rhythmic, you might find your mind wandering. Each time it does so, just acknowledge that it did, push the thought away, and continue to focus on the breath.
Patience and lots of practice.”
One of my favorite resources for mindfulness is Jim Hopper. He reminds us:
- Stressful times, and too much of life in general, can involve repeatedly focusing on difficult experiences and unpleasant emotions. It’s extremely important to train the mind to notice and enhance positive emotions too.
- Mindfulness can help you notice the positive emotions that spontaneously arise in your experience. If you’re going through your life feeling down much of the time, reexperiencing negative emotions resulting from past negative experiences, it can become hard even to notice positive emotions. Or positive emotions can be swamped and overwhelmed by more familiar negative ones before you even notice. Also, sometimes people actually dismiss positive feelings, because they’re afraid to get their hopes up. They think to themselves, “it won’t last, so why bother focusing on it?”
- Practicing bringing your attention to whatever arises in the present moment, and noticing it without judgment, makes you much more likely to notice positive experiences and emotions and much less likely to judge or dismiss them. Particularly when your mind is moving more slowly, and is relatively spacious, positive feelings have an opportunity to grow, last longer and lead to other positive feelings. And many positive emotions, particularly feelings of appreciation, kindness and love, help to enhance the mind’s calmness.As Dr. Jill Henry of the Mountain Valley Center views it, it’s all about mastering the practice of mindfulness.
Our own mind carries us away. Our thoughts are like unruly children, constantly pulling us here and there. And this constant pulling is the source of our stress and pain. Mindfulness is the skill that allows us to watch our thoughts and feelings without being pulled by them. Initially, in practice, all this mental chatter preoccupies us. Then we begin to realize that we do have control. By noticing and observing, we stop reacting. And it is our reactions to our thoughts that bring us emotional stress and physical dis-ease.
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