Last updated October, 2018.
note: we link to our free guide to mindfulness and meditation at the bottom of the page (no email required).
From Leonardo da Vinci:
I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
It's easy to know what we should do - for example,
And, you probably understand these things on an intellectual level.
But, if you're like the rest of us, you probably don't take action on them consistently. Or, much at all!
When it comes to mindfulness and meditation, if you're reading this article you probably know you should meditate every day. And, you probably know you should be mindful when you aren't meditating.
No doubt you believe strengthening awareness is a great idea. But, are you actually practicing? Are you putting focused attention on your mind, and watching everything that arises in consciousness? Are you choosing not to follow it and, instead, return to your anchor (if meditating) or the present moment (if not meditating)?
Understanding the present moment and what it means to "be present" are wonderful. But, are you still indulging day-dreams? Are you still ruminating about the past and worrying about the future? Or, are you observing your mind as it tries to lead you away from right here and now, and choosing not to follow it?
And, being mindful throughout your day is a worthwhile pursuit. But, are you still having problems with focus and productivity, or being engaged with the current situation before you? Are you still prone to emotional outbursts? Or, are you resisting the urge to follow thoughts and emotions down a path that culminates in conditioned behavior, and habitual actions and reactions?
Just like you know you should eat more fruits and vegetables and less fast-food, you know all these things.
You understand everything on an intellectual level. But, you don't always take action.
Why? What's the secret to "doing?"
Actually, there is no secret. And, it's not complicated. It's simple: take the first step, then the next step, then the next step.
There is no mountain to climb, there's only what you do next.
Below is a good exercise to practice with today:
Take the first step, then the next step, then the next step.
Address the root cause.
Your struggles and suffering - whether it's stress, feelings of anxiety or depression, low self-confidence, extreme emotions...or anything else - are caused by the difference between the way things are and the way the mind thinks they should be.
Does it make sense to continue trying to control everything "out there" to conform to the mind's expectations? Or, is a more skillful use of your time and energy changing the way you deal with the thoughts and stories the mind constantly churns out?
If you believe it's the second option, continue reading...