The more I spend time meditating, the more it impacts my “regular” life: whether I’m squished in the subway on peak hour or on the phone trying to cancel a phone plan with a virtual assistant I see how mindfulness helps me do the right thing, or in the least…refrains me from doing the wrong one.
Meditation trains mind to follow some very simple principles that break the closed loops of frustration and self-delusion. But those rules are equally efficient in the context of active life, I randomly picked three of them:
1. Complete Acceptance
In meditation (or MBSR), you’re taught to accept whatever goes on in your mind and start from there, you’re not trained to struggle against your state but to deal with it with a fresh an open mind.
I’ll state the obvious: that strategy works amazingly well at work or in a relationship, it saves you from anger and panic. Whatever difficulty shows up you’re better off dealing straight off with it without debating whether it’s acceptable or not (it’s there already).
I’m sure you can connect complete acceptance with your own experience:
What do you gain from feeling outraged by the insignificant amount of money you get paid every month? Nothing. On the other hand, it’s entirely possible to renegotiate your salary on a clear and unresented mind. it’s even far easier.
Iconic leaders like Nelson Mandela or Gandhi didn’t make a change by blowing a fuse each time they witnessed their people being abused, but by completely understanding each details of the picture and designing an appropriate response.
Complete acceptance is no weakness, it’s anger turned upside down. I’m not big on this one, but training hard, currently. 🙂
The most popular meditation technique consists in using a single object as a point of reference to remain present in the moment. After a while, the mind settles and develops an acute awareness of outer and inner events. Some call that mindfulness.
If there was only one quality born from meditation and transferable to any situation of your life, that would be the one: it makes you more calm, efficient and likable. And it also makes happiness affordable since you don’t project it in the future but right now.
For most of modern humans, though, mindfulness is constantly killed in the egg by a few factors:
- Not meditating daily
- Information overload (Texting, TV, Social medias)
Keep those three in control and you’ll quickly see what a mind does when it’s no longer misused.
3. No Expectations
While it’s not objectionable to expect rewards for every job we do, nothing guarantees any payback.
Basic meditation instructions almost always warn against expectation on the outcome of practice: it seems to secures the process against disappointment and therefore early dropouts, it also protects the mind against a narrow understanding of good vs bad results. Temporary bliss doesn’t always sit well with spiritual progress.
But more generally, having less expectation has a liberating effect every step of the way: in relationships, or contribution, or even personal development.
Doing things for the hell of it severs the rope that binds you to resentment (against others and yourself). It also prepare the ground for a broader and richer vision that humans usually develop at a later stage in their life. Ever heard old people say that they just planted a tree for their grand children to see? And BTW, you don’t need to believe in the law of Karma to enjoy it’s effects: your money back (someday).
None of the quality I mentioned are taught in school, and teachers are not to blame: awareness or total acceptance are not part of the modern culture.
I don’t think it matters to have grown up without those keys, at least we get to discover something new ( a rare thing when you’re an adult!), now the job is ours to rewire our old brains for more coherence.