Relax is my new favourite word and Relax, Release and Return and the 5 Minute Shavasana are my two favourite practices.
I have found them very useful things to be mindful of and put into action to facilitate, greater quality of attention, presence with others, peace of mind and less worry and exhaustion.
Minfulness is word which has received lots of attention and hype. As I understand it, it simply means to pay attention to what is going on. Mindfulness is not a skill that we need to develop, it is a skill we already have, a skill we are all constantly using. So, we don't need to develop this ability but we do need to learn how to use it well.
Alan Wallace reminds us "It is the quality of attention (mindfulness) we bring to situation that makes the difference". He goes on to say "when we attend to - that is watch over, care for and really look at - our own thoughts, desires and emotions if we find we are out of sorts, we can note that and not beat ourselves up, not judge ourselves". Instead, we can improve the quality of our attention.
So how do I improve the quality of attention I bring to my self talk, connection with others and situations? A quality of attention informed by kindness and respect. How do we improve the quality of attention so that we are less exhausted, have increased well being and a greater sense of connection with each other?
The next few blogs will address ways to try to improve the quality of attention we bring to any situation so that we can be better FOR others. I am certainly not bringing my 'better FOR others' self to a situation when I am agitated, stressed, or worried, so lets do a recap of that first.
Ways to improve the 'quality of the attention' we bring to life when.......
1. Feeling restless, agitated, distracted, stressed, worried
Alan Wallace suggests we just PAUSE and do three things
1. Invite your body to RELAX
I have found tuning into my body very interesting. I find I often have stress in muscles that are not needed for what I am doing. A tight jaw and frown are certainly not necessary to help me chop the veggies. So bringing awareness to my body and inviting it to relax is very helpful for my well being and health. Releasing the tension is restorative and saves energy.
2. RELEASE the thought stream/storyline
I find it very interesting to bring awareness to the scribble that is often going on in my mind, with a kind, non-judgmental interest. "Oh my funny mind there it goes again, about to worry about stuff that hasn't happened yet and churning over stuff that is already happened"! None of it is helpful or even necessarily true! So, by bringing awareness to the thoughts and RELEASING the thought stream or story line I can liberate myself from worry and agitation and promote peace of mind.
3. RETURN to your breath as an anchor for calm
The breath is like our anchor in the present moment. It brings us back to the only time that truly exists - the present moment. And when we return there to the breath there is no fear or worry. Returning to the present is a present we can give ourselves anytime.
2. Feeling spaced out, dull, or sleepy
Once again I am not bringing my 'better FOR others' self to a situation when I am feeling spaced out, dull or sleepy. So how do I improve the quality of my attention?
Alan Wallace suggests we just PAUSE and do 3 things
1. Refresh your attention
Feel the energy in the body - brighten your mind. Maybe get up and stretch
2. Restore your focus - on the breath, activity, person
3. Retain your anchor (don't just wander off again, stay)
3. Feeling really out of sorts, edgy uptight, not ourselves
In actual fact I am feeling that way right now and certainly not in position to offer my best in continuing this blog. So I have decided to write about what to do regarding when you are feeling out of sorts next blog. Hint - I am off to have my 5 minute shavasana to restore and be in a position to offer my best (and dinner) when everyone gets home tonight.
Have a great fortnight and make sure you take some time to relax! I look forward to connecting with you soon
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