Every year millions of Americans make resolutions for the New Year, and sadly within a few weeks (or days) many will lose that resolve and revert to old habits and behaviors. This year let’s not see that as failure and throw in the towel. Instead, see it as an opportunity to actually notice our patterns and work on those. It’s the best way– maybe the only way– to make real progress.
It’s been awhile since I discussed my books, thoughts on mindfulness and what it means to See Clearly. I’m sure many of you who watched me rant on Twitter this past year wonder what beneficial advice I could offer. Most of us know what we “should do”, but often we forget or just don’t want to face it — myself included. So, I wanted to start off this New Year with a post that hopefully can help us all, regardless of politics.
To elaborate on this concept of seeing our patterns, the first and hardest part is to recognize these patterns without a lot of judgement. NO judgement would be best, but realizing that most of us are our own worst critics helps. See, you’re not alone. We all do it. I was very critical of my snarky tweeting last year, but just couldn’t seem to stop. I would read another person’s attempt at sarcasm and think, “hell, I can top that” and then I’d spit out my best zinger. Sure, some of them racked up a lot of views, but really, who cares. Is it worth sacrificing my true principles for the momentary pleasure of tweeting? Isn’t that the question for all addictions? Is this drink worth it? Is this “fix” of whatever worth it? We know the consequences… we’ve experienced them many times before. But somehow we find endless ways to magically avoid seeing clearly. So, that’s the trick. Noticing that we are ruled by our thoughts, desires and aversions. And, of all things, that’s where meditation comes in 💡 (that’s a light bulb, not praying hands… but either works.)
It took me years to realize the real purpose of meditation. It’s not to silence our thoughts (which is virtually impossible), but to notice them. “Oh, now I’m reliving that episode again.” And, don’t even think “I should stop.” Simply notice that you’ve thought of that several times now or maybe it’s a new thought. Just notice the thoughts. It’s quite a revelation in the beginning, like stepping back and seeing yourself in action. Maybe you’ve become aware of your habitual tendencies some other way, or you may be a long-time meditator and know there are many stages to the process, but this is a good one for starters. Just notice. It’s also called Mindfulness.
I would love to get more feedback and exchange thoughts here. Sorry if I neglected to approve your comment(s) over the holidays. I really do want more interaction here. I’m going to post a poll with this on Twitter to see if people would prefer to read more nonfiction material like this, or want another fiction story (aka a novel.) Maybe I should also ask if you like to listen to audiobooks, read eBooks or still like hard copy. And, then there’s social media and virtual reality! Whatever way we communicate, here’s to a happier new year for all of us.