It’s all about practicing mindfulness — you’re right about that. But do you get mindfulness right?
If we do get mindfulness right, then why do so many people struggle with attaining peace of mind?
And if the way to achieve it is through meditation, how do you bridge the gap between your practice and day-to-day life to maintain it?
Gelong Thubten, a renowned monk, shares how to achieve peace of mind by practicing meditation even for just a few seconds throughout the day.
This is how you can do it.
Practice Compassion-Based Mindfulness
Mindfulness, in essence, is the training of the mind. One of the ways to practice mindfulness is practicing compassion.
Gelong explains there’s a relationship between your thoughts and emotions when you meditate. And that’s the key point — you can change how you think and feel when you’re mindful of it.
And meditation on compassion is one of the techniques that can help you in the modern world.
Practicing meditation creates love and peace. It builds compassion and kindness.— Gelong Thubten
Studies have shown that when people meditate on compassion, it activates their motor cortex. It’s the area of the brain connected to the intention to act.
When it’s activated, it leads us to actions that will benefit not only you but others as well. You also activate the wisdom through which you can help others.
And this compassion starts with the compassion for your thoughts and feelings.
Peace of Mind Meditation
There’s a myth about the peace of mind meditation that you’re supposed to clear your mind, but that’s impossible. The more you’re trying to push away your thoughts, the louder they shout. And that can be stressful for many people.
Meditation isn’t about clearing your mind. It’s about becoming the boss of your thoughts.— Gelong Thubten
If you’ve ever tried to meditate, you know how your mind starts to wander. Within seconds, you start writing shopping lists, planning your day, thinking about checking your emails, and whatever else. In other words, your mind goes all over the place.
And then comes the self-judgment. You may even view your meditation session as a failure because you couldn’t clear your mind.
“Failure is a great thing to do because it shows us a human condition, so allow yourself to fail,” says Gelong.
When you realize that the mind is very difficult to tame, you stop feeling angry with yourself. And you’re able to relate to your thoughts and feelings with compassion and allow yourself to fail.
The very fact that your mind gets distracted makes you stronger. You’ve got a chance to bring your attention back to your breathing.
The more you return to it, the more you’re mastering your mind. So in your daily life, you’re able to let go of stress and negativity and achieve peace of mind.
Meditate Like a Monk to Achieve Peace of Mind
There are three phases to follow in your meditation practice:
- You focus on your breath
- You notice you’ve lost your focus
- You return to your breath
You breathe, notice, and return — it’s as simple as that.
Thoughts are like taxis. You get in, they take you for a ride, and you’re left with a bill to pay. Instead why not let them drive by?— Gelong Thubten
You aren’t trying to clear your mind and get rid of your thoughts. You don’t judge yourself when your mind naturally wanders, but gently and compassionately notice it and return to your breathing.
By following these three simple steps in your meditation practice, you will no longer see your thoughts as a problem but instead, a critical element you need for success.
And it will help you be more at peace with your mind.
Practical Tips to Maintain Your Peace of Mind
There are two people that never meet — the meditator and the non-meditator. The meditator is you when you meditate, and the non-meditator is you in your day-to-day life, busy and stressed at work.
So the ultimate goal of your practice is to make mindfulness your default state. You can achieve it by practicing tiny microscopic moments of awareness throughout the day in any situation.
You can use your body or visual objects or sounds — anything in the present reality.
For example, when you’re standing in line, you can bring your awareness to your feet and feel the ground instead of checking your phone. You can become aware of your shoulders or pick up any subject and focus on it.
When you work in the office, you can feel the chair 10-20 times a day for a few moments each time.
Gelong Thubten recommends deliberately doing this with specific actions like brushing your teeth mindfully or washing your hands.
He says, “when you wash your hands, your mind moves with your body, going all over the place. Instead, you want to be fully present with the sensation of the movement of your hands, the soap, the water.”
You are simply fully present with what you’re doing.
When you train yourself to be present without judgment, you discover that happiness has always been there inside you. And the peace of mind you’re looking to achieve is available at every given moment.