Weekly quotes (08/19/15)
note: we link to our free guide to mindfulness and meditation at the bottom of the page (no email required).
Once a week we highlight quotes that will (hopefully) resonate with you. We may or may not add our own commentary. Most likely, we will.
This week's theme: awareness!
We will start with William James:
"The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another."
This is a great quote, provided the definition of choose doesn't mean "try and force yourself to think one thought over another."
Instead, be aware of everything that arises - don't try to control it. As you cultivate awareness of thoughts (and all mental activity), you can choose where to focus your attention. And, you can choose not to follow thoughts down a path that culminates in conditioned behavior.
Next, from Jack Kornfield:
"At first you will think of practice as a limited part of your life. In time you will realize that everything you do is part of your practice."
This quote highlights the difference between viewing mindfulness and meditation as a chore vs. a way of being.
Most people initially view meditating as another item on their "todo list" - do the laundry, wash the dishes, go for a run, meditate. These people have a hard time developing a consistent practice.
If, however, you learn to understand your mind - how compulsive it is, the non-stop activity it produces, how it's the foundation for everything in your life - you shift your view.
You see the importance of cultivating awareness so you can notice your thoughts, emotions, urges, and that "inner narrative" without getting caught up in it.
"Noticing without getting caught up in" is a skill you develop through a consistent practice, and you transfer that skill to your daily life when you aren't meditating (this is mindfulness). The more mindful you become, the less affected you are by the struggles that affect most of us:
> endless worry;
> self-confidence issues;
> a lack of focus;
> and so on.
At that point, mindfulness and meditation become a way of being.
Finally, from Thích Nhất Hạnh:
"Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed."
In any given moment, we are in one of two states: (1) caught up in mental noise, or (2) not caught up in it.
Awareness is the key to moving from the former to the latter state. You cultivate awareness through a consistent meditation practice, and by bringing mindfulness to your daily life.
What are you trying to "cope" with?
Coping doesn't work - addressing the root cause does. We'll show you how.
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