The Power Of Patience – Foundation of Mindfulness #2

What patience is not is tolerance. It is wisdom to recognize that things unfold in their way, and there is always a motive or explanation behind crude incidences or maddening behaviors of people. Patience is to grasp that an act’s expediency, such as getting angry, does not clarify or resolve frustration encountered by unexpected circumstances.

The intensity of what annoys or displeases is how you perceive the intentions. Still, whether deliberate or accidental, it is up to you to fuel haste into a situation out of fear and anxiety or to realize that you will benefit from a strong pull on your impulses.

During your lifespan, confrontation happens, and on many occasions, your rage starts to mount. Although, knowing well that keeping your temper under control is the wisest choice, it is not an easy task. How can you interrupt the impatience and remain calm in the face of irritating people? Well, according to the French philosopher Emile-August Chartier (known as Alain): “Never say that people are evil, you just need to look for the pin”. Consciously assuming that some internal suffering drives others’ irrational behaviors that cause agony, surely will support your efforts to curb the anger. Switching your emotions from agitation to compassion and empathy allows you to control your thoughts and actions.

 

 

Art by Aykutmaykut
Art by Aykutmaykut

We can grow out of the habit of impatience, mindfully. Clearly, you are aware of nature, change of seasons, the harvest, or the metamorphosis of butterflies; the common thread is that the process has different stages and is on a different timetable. In nature, you wait for the full cycle with patience; maybe if you apply the same principle in all your endeavors, the course of action and the psyche during the undertaking will allow you to be in the moment and live a rewarding life.

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Art by Aykutmaykut

Try these strategies to cultivate patience: 

  • Set a rule: lean back, take deep breaths, and count to 15 if the tension is rising.
  • Scan your body and relax the tense muscles.
  • Consciously choose to be calm.
  • Act patient, talk slowly.
  • Actively listen.
  • Practice empathy the same way you offer it to children
  • Remind yourself that unpleasant, frustrating, and dreadful circumstances arise, and it is out of your control. The only thing that you have full control over is your ability to remain patient.

 

Letting Go – Foundation of Mindfulness #7

Changing the habit of non-acceptance

  • Let the sensations come and go
  • Do not take things personally
  • Acceptance is not choosing over your preference
  • Let go of control; not everything is what we imagine nor what we believe
  • Do not react to the unwanted situation
  • Take your focus away from what you agree or disagree
  • Recognize that flaws do exist in life, in people, and your doings and point of views
  • Detach yourself from distressing thought by not giving too much weight to it
  • Create a supportive slogan for yourself to accept things as they are in challenging moments

Ultimately, by allowing things to be as they are and staying neutral, you will learn to cultivate an acceptance attitude to reduce your anger, remain calm, and eventually find solutions. Remind yourself that the sensations that you feel are magnified. Just like in a horror movie, the knife is on the kitchen counter, but it does not mean that you will be stabbed with it. Being mindful is to know that you don’t have to solve everything nor to change it at once.

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Art by Alex Gross

How to let go

The body

  • Observe your hurtful and discouraging thoughts
  • Practice diaphragmatic breathing and imagine that the frustrating emotion flows away with your exhalation

Emotions and feelings

  • Instead of ruminating on the story and inflating the situation with fear and panic, take it at face value
  • Sometimes it is best to engage with the negative thoughts and to confront them with counter argument
  • Know that if something doesn’t go your way is not the end of the world, not necessarily other bad things will continue to happen
  • Set an intention to realize the root cause of the negative thoughts, tension and frustrations
  • Journalling your feelings is helpful and sometimes physical venting like yelling off into a pillow works
  • Recognize that you have a choice to bid farewell to the hurt
  • Create peaceful images to call to mind as a support system
  • Realize that you are not in the centre of the universe
  • In frustration ask yourself is this who you really are? Then align yourself with your peaceful and intelligent self

When you cultivate peace in your attitude towards life, you are diffusing fear. Instead of kicking yourself and others over mistakes, past hurts or old injustices, learn to detach and let go of the anxiety that is brewing from the fear, criticism or offence.  It is satisfying to expose with rage the wrongdoers, vicious people or storm over unfairness but letting go with compassion and forgiveness makes you stronger. The idea is not to ignore nor to tolerate or to yield to unjust but to see things as they are! Your strength to analyze the situation with its risks and being able to shut off the anxieties which cripple and bring you to a depressive mood gives you the control over your emotions and allows you to accumulate the best possible outcome.

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Art by Merelle Fabien

For further information refer to “The Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Feature image by Michael Bergt

Tell Your Brain To Shut Up and Listen!

As promised, I embarked on the practice of mindfulness meditation to learn useful techniques on how to change our state of mind deliberately. The practice serves as a navigator through the ups and downs of life, transcending the fear and seeing things or the problem as they are. Meditation takes you to a place deep within yourself, a bridge to your inner wisdom that helps you stabilize distress—the optimal formula to nurture the best version of yourself.

At its core, the concept of mindful meditation is nothing more than being aware of what you are doing while you are doing it. It is not always about sitting in the Burmese position (mind you, it does help) and chanting a mantra but to be present at the moment. As Jon Kabat-Zinn writes in “Catastrophe Living,” unless you change your way of looking at things, no type of meditation will be useful in the long run. He frames a set of 7 fundamental attitudes that will help with the practice of being present. Non-judgingpatiencebeginner’s mindtrustnon-strivingacceptance, and letting go are to be part of your frame of mind to channel your energies and reach an alpha state. I will dive deeper into each of these attitudes in my upcoming “Mind Series.” 

The practice needs commitment! In the beginning, it will be very hard to include the above attitudes in your thought process, but merely keeping them in mind and applying them in small increments in your day-to-day ways, from eating habits to rituals or working systems, will eventually be ingrained in your thinking.

  • A good place to start is to take notice of your daily habits. For instance, pay attention to what you are eating as if it is for the first time that you are seeing or tasting that food. You can try with just one fruit or any other produce that you like. This exercise involves minding one moment to another and can be extended to other tasks and routines. 
  • Intentionally, build up your efforts and set aside a time during the day to quiet your mind and focus on your breathing.
  • Taking notice of the breath is the anchor that shifts our battling mind and anxieties to a relaxing and calming stage. The turbulence is still there, but even if it’s for a few minutes, this exercise enables you to reconnect to your ability to stay calm.

 

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Photo courtesy of rafyA creative art designs
  • Diaphragmatic breathing – the idea is to intentionally contract the diaphragm muscle and relax your belly during the inhalation to rise and deflate on exhalation. Lie down on your back or stretch out on a recliner put one hand on your belly. Bring your attention to your hand and feel it move. Practice for 15 minutes every day. (“The power of Breathing, Jon Kabat-Zinn) 
  • The other way of practicing mindfulness of breathing is to be mindful of your breath during the day.

 

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Photo courtesy of designrfix.com
  • Kindly observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment and turn your focus on your breath each time you start dwelling on them.
  • Note the persistent thoughts, detect the emotional threats of the self-centered sentiments, anger, hate, or different moods.
  • Recognize that what comes to your mind is only a thought. By redirecting your attention to your breath, you will detach any value to the lingering thought, and gradually, you will have the strength to intentionally let go of the negative emotions and calm your brain.
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Photo courtesy of designrfix.com

The whole process is not about pushing the unwanted emotions or thoughts away but cultivating the courage to see as they are. Meditation is about accepting the contents of your mind, regaining calm to reach the peaceful brain wave, and finding clarity.

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Photo courtesy of designrfix.com

Explore your rhythms and pulses, and in concert with your restyled thinking at the same time integrating gratitudecompassionkindnessforgivenessgenerosity, and tolerance, steadilyyou can lead a robust lifestyle.

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Art of Alex Gross

Banksy’s Exhibition in Toronto

I dare say that being a good observer matters more than ever. Peering into ourselves and the world unboxes the behaviors, the negatives, the positives or the actions that sidetrack us. The daily rummage distracts even the most intelligent beings; however a sudden tilt of the eye towards a mural or a poster sheds lights on our existential dilemma.

Banksy
Banksy

One of the most talented observers of our time is Banksy, the artist. His anarchic wit and his ability to dissect the challenges and communicating them in an intelligently uncluttered way is praiseworthy. The message is never lost in the image. A simple concept from evolutionary references, advocating for peace or justice to the validity of all kinds of love brings out the best version in each of us. His artworks push aside the narcissism of small differences and rely on the hype for compassion.

Banksy
Banksy
Banksy
Banksy

The incognito trademark of Bansky is attractive. His desire to act as a creative surrogate of empathy and heightened awareness portrays him as stimulating. Deep in our conscious, we form an alliance with his emotional intelligence. Unlike the desperate cry for help of Gotham citizens, who relied on one superhero to be rescued using the bat-signal device, Banksy lights the torch for us to observe, be responsible and take action.

 

Banksy
Banksy
Banksy
Banksy

The Banksy Art exhibition in Toronto curated by Steve Lazarides, his former agent, is a collection of references to our society and cultural idolization, obsessions or shenanigans. Still, his deeply-rooted mindfulness and generous care for the vulnerable are felt with clarity. An opportunity to see his artworks that will be returned to 40 different art collectors around the world, is worth the time and money.

 

THE ART OF BANKSY runs till September 2, 2018, at 213 Sterling. $35, stu/srs $32.50, children under five free.