I came onto the path of mindfulness, meditation, and spirituality when I was 16 years old. I saw the TV-series Ed where the main character started experimenting with lucid dreaming.
That got me interested, and that is where my journey started. It hasn’t been an easy journey by any means, but I’m nearing a decade on this path, and I don’t regret it for a moment.
I’ve been through a lot of challenges, such as going through brief spurts of depression. I’ve felt like I wasn’t good enough, and that life wouldn’t work out the way I wanted it to. In every one of these cases I let my thoughts run wild. I started focusing on the negative instead of on the positive, and I think many people have the same tendency.
So there have been both ups and downs, but in the end they have all been there for a reason. And with each “bad period,” I’ve learned more and more about myself.
Truly living in the present moment isn’t easy, but it is highly rewarding. The best way to move forward on your own path to “here and now” is to understand the potential obstacles and plan in advance how you’ll deal with them.
1. Mindfulness takes ongoing effort.
Mindfulness takes work, but the good news is that the longer you practice, the easier it gets, and the more joyful your life becomes. Mindfulness is best practiced throughout your day. It’s not just for when you sit down and meditate. Focus on being mindful of your thoughts when you’re doing everyday tasks and it will be easier to remain mindful when things get tough.
2. There will always be distractions.
When you’re on your journey to becoming more mindful, it seems as if the universe starts throwing stuff at you just to give you challenges. The distractions could be problems in your life, drama in your relationships, or old negative beliefs popping up from your past. These are great opportunities to practice present moment awareness. They will help you become stronger, better, and more in tune with yourself. The problems and challenges we face are teachers in disguise. They are there to help you grow and to realize who you truly are.
3. Progress doesn’t always come quickly.
Progress may seem excruciatingly slow. There will be times when you attach to things and situations that you want, which will make it difficult to be fully in the present moment. It’s impossible to be mindful when you’re dwelling on the past or obsessing about the future. We all do those things sometimes. I’ve experienced it countless times in my own life. The more I want something, the more I fixate on not having it and wanting to get it. Once I release the attachment and focus on being grateful for what I have in the moment, my life seems to shift, and progress seems to happen naturally.
4. You may want to give up.
Like with any worthwhile journey, you may feel like giving up and throwing in the towel multiple times. But it is during the times when you feel most frustrated that you are often on the verge of a breakthrough. Our lives are very similar to the seasons. We go through cold, dark winters, and joyful, expanding summers. It all comes and goes. It’s the ebb and flow of life. When you realize that the challenging times are there to help you grow, you will automatically feel more peaceful and relaxed.
5. Your goals may challenge your mindfulness.
Having goals is fantastic, essential even, but when you become overly attached to them, something bad happens, just like we talked about above. You know that you’re too attached to something when you start feeling frustrated, angry, and negative. Attachment muddles our clarity. You’re likely pursuing your goals because you believe they will make you happy. Remember that when you start letting your goals pull you into a stressful state of mind. If you focus on the good things around you, you’ll feel that happiness that you think you need to chase. This will make you much happier in the long term, and, of course, right now.
6. You might forget that the journey is the destination.
Most people miss the fact that the reward is in the journey. Have you ever noticed that when you reach a goal, it’s not as exciting as you thought it would be? Sure, it feels great to hit a milestone, but if you do not replace that goal with another one, you will soon find yourself feeling unfulfilled. That’s because we are goal-seeking mechanisms. Humans need goals so they can have a sense of purpose and fulfillment. It is in the journey that we learn, grow, and become better. When you’re practicing mindfulness, remember that there is nowhere to arrive at. If you focus on what is going on right now, the rest take care of itself.
7. Sometimes you’ll want to be anywhere but in the now.
Even the most enlightened masters on earth have to deal with difficult situations and chaotic thoughts. The difference is they have learned to accept the moment for what it is. When you do this, you become the guardian of your inner space, which is the only way to feel good inside and find peace of mind, right now.
Henri writes at Wake Up Cloud and he is also the author of Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself and Follow Your Heart: 21 Days to a Happier, More Fulfilling Life. The above article reblogged from TinyBuddha.com
Positive psychology expert Shawn Achor — explained this week on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, “Happiness is the joy we feel on the way to reaching our highest potential, and happiness is a choice. “ I couldn’t agree more. If happiness is defined only by outer goals and events, it will be fleeting, unsatisfying and unsustainable. On the other hand, if you can redefine happiness (and choose to see it) as the feeling you experience as you strive to reach your highest self and highest potential – now that’s something deep, enduring, and enlivening.
Shawn’s extensive research and other recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that our society’s concept of happiness (work hard and you’ll be successful, and happiness will follow) is completely backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just fluff. This important discovery has been borne out repeatedly by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the world.
Shawn teaches how we can – in five easy steps — reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge at work and create more success, happiness and reward in our lives. These steps are:
Do these steps for 21 days, and you will begin to see a lasting shift in your mindset towards more positivity and happiness.
An excerpt from the article “8 Inner Keys to Greater Career Happiness and Success” at Content Loop.