Several recent major life changes temporarily put my blogging on hold but today, I’m back in action. A cross-country move and new job while both very exciting developments, have considerably lengthened my to do list and my need for a moment of zen. In what could not have been better timing, I happened to stumble across a Ted Talk on the topic of mindfulness this evening. I’ll admit, it’s something that has completely escaped me as of late when I likely could have used it the most. I’ve noticed that in times of change and anxiety, it seems that it is easiest to overlook the thoughts or activities that bring us the most peace. In an effort to overcome that, I listened to the talk by Andy Puddicombe, “All It Takes Is Ten Mindful Minutes” and subsequently put his words into action.
I’ve attempted to meditate and clear my mind in the past and at times, have been more successful than others. What’s interesting about the approach described in the talk is that the goal is not to “clear your mind” but rather to embrace your thoughts and let go of any stress attached to them.
Andy, a former ordained Buddhist monk, explains the simplicity of meditation and its importance in our everyday lives. He describes it as a preventative measure in building a stress-free life, and reduces it down to a few simple steps. First, allow the thought to enter your mind. Take a moment to let it sink-in, without allowing it to cause anxiety. Then, release the thought from your mind and move on.
Intrigued and compelled to see for myself, I turned off my iPhone, closed my laptop and shut out the sounds of the busy city streets by closing my window. I laid down on my bed and allowed my racing thoughts to enter my mind, one by one. I found that the approach was really quite as simple as Andy described. By accepting each thought and recognizing it as something real, I acknowledged it and released it within a matter of seconds. After a few moments of this, I instantly felt any prior stress lifted from my mind. A sense of freedom overcame me as I realized the allotted time had passed.
First thing on my to do list tomorrow? Set aside ten minutes and repeat.