Last updated October, 2018.
note: we link to our free guide to mindfulness and meditation at the bottom of the page (no email required).
One of the biggest challenges we have to overcome is judging ourselves, and holding the opinion that we shouldn’t have certain thoughts or emotions.
People experienced in mindfulness and meditation don’t have a magic power that repels anger, frustration, or the like. What they do have is increased awareness of what arises, and the ability to notice it all without getting caught up in it.
This prevents them from following their minds down a path that culminates in conditioned behavior and habitual actions and reactions.
Here's something that can help strengthen this ability:
Remove the "I."
To help overcome the urge to judge ourselves for things that arise, we can shift our perspective: instead of looking at it as “I was frustrated,” look at it as “There is frustration.”
You aren’t angry, you aren’t irritated, you aren’t scared. There is anger, there is irritation, there is fear.
This view makes it easier to observe what’s happening without building a story around it. When you build a story around the anger, irritation, or fear, you propagate more thoughts and emotions that bury you in a landslide of mental noise.
But, when you approach these situations from the neutral standpoint of removing the "I," it’s easier to let everything be as it is - independent of you and your attention.
What arises will cease. Your mind tries to convince you that thoughts, emotions, and urges are critical — that they’ll never go away, and in many cases are a matter of “life or death.”
But, you no longer have to take the bait.
As Shunryu Suzuki said:
Let thoughts come and go. Just don't serve them tea.
Thoughts are just thoughts. Emotions are just emotions. They hold no special power over you unless you let them.
It's time to stop letting them!
Stop dealing with the symptoms.
Stress, anxiety, self-confidence issues, the inability to stop bad habits, problems with sleep and focus, and on and on and on.
These and the other things we struggle with every day are only symptoms.
The good news is, they all share the same root cause. The bad news is, if you don't address that root cause, the symptoms will keep coming back no matter what you do.
That's why we wrote "An owner's guide to the mind." For almost 20 years, people have been using it to address the root cause of their daily struggles.
Click here to view the contents and learn more.