Buddhism and Meditation

Life With Full Attention – Week 1


 

 

 

Last week we embarked on our Life with Full Attention Course. Here are the notes from the meeting:

 

Life With Full AttentionWeek 1Day to Day Mindfulness

Mindfulness of Small Things


  • How often are we forgetful or loose things?
  • What affect does this have on us?
  • Modern life can often feel like a succession of small bitty things.
  • When we are suffering we often put a lot of blame on the big things (the economy, our childhood etc.)
  • How we are with these small things is important – it sets the tone for our lives
  • There are practical changes that can be made at this level

 

Taking Day to Day Mindfulness Seriously

 

  • The small inconveniences of forgetfulness are often trivial. Once the panic is over, they are easily forgotten
  • We may even consider this to be our temperament or type
  • We aren’t serious about our awareness of small things because we don’t understand that actions have consequences – on us and those around us
  • We fail to see that a smoother running life would be less stressful for us, that our lack of awareness (lateness, gossiping) causes problems for others
  • Small things are cumulative

 

Fail Better – “Try again, fail again, fail better” (Samuel Becket)

 

  • Failure is a part of life – it is normal
  • If we can’t learn to fail then we will fail to learn
  • We need to be honest and admit our failures – take responsibility
  • But don’t loose heart, perfection is not the point – just try again

 

It has Already Happened

 

  • When we notice something has gone wrong it has already happened
  • We can’t go back and change it
  • Mindfulness is about what happens next
  • Keep going over it in our minds, building up shame and blame will make not help
  • We need to take responsibility and do what we can to put things right
  • We will require kindness and patience

 

 

Practice Week 1

Attending to Small Things so that we can Concentrate on the Big Ones


Actions have consequences – conditionality.

This practice week is aimed at setting up conditions so that mindfulness can arise.

We will be looking at how we structure and organise our life. Choose two or three of these exercises to try during the week:

 

 

Setting up Positive Routines.

 

Important activities (exercise, meditation, play) can easily get lost in busy lives

Ring-Fence what is important with routine

Achieving what we want to do is morale boosting

Too much routine can get stifling

 

Check Your Diary

 

What are the things you want to do but can’t get around to?

What gets in the way?

What is the shape of your week – too loose or too tight?

Try to plan a routine to sustain what you want to achiever. Be creative!

 

Make 2 Resolutions


e.g. Go swimming – . Then find practical things to make this happen (find a friend to go with – buy a new swimming suit)

Write down your resolution and accompanying actions in your week review

Be patient & realistic – positive habits can take a while to build up

 

We don’t always feel like doing the things we know are good for us. We need to be honest about this. Recalling how we feel after the activity may help future motivation.

 

Cultivate a sense of Mastery


Enjoying and remembering the sense of satisfaction when we complete a task – a sense of being in control

Routines for starting and finishing can cultivate mastery

Do we always go for the easy thing first?

Leave sufficient time to finish properly, calm and unhurried

Small gaps help

 

Do 3 Things Now


If you feel overwhelmed make a quick “to do” list of simple tasks

Do 3 straight away (e.g. put the washing on)

Helps to regain a sense of mastery

 


Complete Your Cycles/Finish What you Started


Do we follow through or do we forget to finish things off?

Do we wash up after eating or leave it for later?

Perhaps we can ask for feedback – what are we like to live/work with?

 

 

Consider the Consequences

 

Use our imagination to extend beyond the immediate

What are the wider (local/national/global) consequences of our actions?

 


Reduce Input

 

Do we constantly multi-task?

Are we still capable of concentrating on and enjoying one thing at a time?

We can wean ourselves off of over-stimulation and over-consumption

 

We could try a resolution to:

 

- Eat or cook without radio or TV

- Don’t channel hop – decide what to watch and complete the cycle.

- Spend a week without a gadget or turn it of at specific time e.g. 10pm curfew

 

 

Reminders


Use notes or electronic reminders to take a break or a mindful moment.

Use your diary to block out quiet times.



Noticing the Consequences of Un-Mindfulness

 

Try some of the exercises above and see if you can notice a difference

If you are feeling anxious or bad tempered see if you can spot the small things that contribute to it – was there a lack of mindfulness?

 

 

For Next Week:

 

Make notes of how working with various aspects of mindfulness affect us

What helps & what doesn’t?

Keep a log in our Journal of the things we have tried out and try to evaluate how each of them worked

Report in with your mindfulness buddy

 

A large part of the exercise is simply getting to know ourselves better and finding what works for us.