Total disclaimer I do not like meditating. I find it really challenging to quiet my mind. I’m a thinker and my brain is always on overdrive.
I remember first trying to “mindful” years ago and always feeling that I failed at it. My thoughts would quickly get sidetracked or highjacked by things like my to-do list. I’d get stuck replaying situations in my head and over analyzing things people said or did to me (cue anxious thoughts).
When I was pregnant with our first born, I happened to be working in a hospital and my primary role back then was to re-vamp and deliver a DBT skills group for teens.
I spent a lot of time going over that material and trying to find ways to deliver the content so that it was both entertaining and educational.
Throughout that process I was almost forced into mindfulness. I had to do it multiple times per day!! I even got to the point where all of the staff and kids were calling my unborn child “baby buddha”.
What happened over that period of time for me was life-changing. I didn’t realize it then but I had come to really value the practice of meditation and mindfulness.
In brief 5-10 minute segments each day I was building a habit.
Not only that, but I came to appreciate the DBT concepts of ‘Walking the Middle Path” and Wise Mind. I sort of made it my own by referring to it as “My Inner Buddha”.
We all have one!
For me this was about letting go of the extreme way of thinking, something that I tend to do based on my own history and anxiety patterns. It happens to a lot of us.
My Inner Buddha is a balance of both my emotions and rational thoughts. It guides me and shows me the way out of feeling stuck.
Think of this as the intuitive knowledge sometimes felt in your body. Sometimes you can feel it in your stomach or heart.
You know that feeling you get “in your gut” when you’ve made the right decision or when something just “feels right”. This is what I’m referring to!
It’s the sense of calmness and wisdom we can experience but can’t quite express in words.
I know that being mindful has made it easier for me get to my Inner Buddha. There has been lots of research and evidence to support this as well. Remember that DBT mindfulness incorporates elements from Buddhism and the practice of respecting and honouring this inner way of thinking and being has proven to be very significant in terms of brain development and neuroplasticity.
I spent years dismissing and minimizing my Inner Buddha which ended up limiting my own resources and left me feeling out of control of my thoughts and feelings.
Now that I feel more aware and comfortable getting to this Middle Path, I also know that it’s impossible to always be in a state of Wise Mind…of always having my Inner Buddha hanging around.
Don’t get me wrong there are still many moments when I lose it! I react when I am feeling stressed, overwhelmed, run down and especially hungry just like everyone else. It happens because we are human.
The difference now is that it doesn’t happen as often for me.
My Little Buddha is always working hard at showing me the balance. Letting me be aware of the feelings and accepting the situation for what it is. That entire process is guiding me towards a bigger picture …a balanced one where I can see both sides. A middle way.
If you find yourself getting stuck in your emotions or thoughts that’s when we need help getting to the middle path and finding the balance.
How do you find the middle path?! Being mindful and being patient with yourself is a good start.
For me, being mindful isn’t always about meditating. Over the last 10 years especially I take quiet moments in my day to do “mindful things”. When I’m on a 15 minute walk I leave my phone on silent and in my pocket. I intentionally focus on the sounds, smells and details around me to ground me in the moment.
You can be mindful just doing everyday things! Being fully present and in-the-moment while you complete day-to-day chores and tasks is a great way to build this practice into your life.
Fold those clothes mindfully! Wash those dishes mindfully!
One small step as they say 🙂