meditation, not being a twat, Wise things

Kindness Kicks Arse

Marion thumbnail_IMG_0495

Showing affection isn’t something you talk about much in the pub

But bring to mind when someone decided to do something nice for you. Maybe a friend sent a text message to make you giggle before a interview or your brother gave an earful to someone who bullied you. Maybe a pal made you a cup of tea just the way you like it, even though to them it’s disgustingly milky.

They were thinking about you and it helped. That kind of thoughtfulness probably opened you up a little – allowed you to peep over your wall and lower your drawbridge. Do you care what they look like? How well off they are? Do you think about how well they have done in their career? Nah.

That’s because kindness kicks everything else’s arse.

All anyone really wants is to be happy. Even appallingly arrogant merchant bankers are in desperate need of kindness most of the time. But the fear of your actions being misinterpreted or rejected often stops you from reaching out. So maybe start small, include it in your meditation practice, then look for teeny opportunities to lift someone’s spirits.

Little bits of goodwill…

  • Be patient with someone who bores you.

  • Ask more questions.

  • Remember people’s preferences.

  • Stop thinking they dislike you.

  • Don’t read the Daily Mail.

  • Give the bus driver freshly-cooked sausages.

  • Remember everyone does things for a reason they think is okay.

Planting small seeds of kindness in your day builds momentum and releases you from the pressure of being a total tube the rest of the time.

meditation, Wise things

I Don’t Have Time To Meditate!

IMG_0612.jpg

Cunning ways to stuff meditation into chaotic days…

Are your eyeballs are out on stalks at the thought of another thing to do? Happily there are oodles of ways to squeeze meditation in without making it a big deal.

Maybe try:

  • Meditate for five minutes instead of trawling on IMDB for that obscure film director or scrolling mindlessly through social media.

  • Sit for three minutes in the loo. Generally people don’t want to know what you were up to in there.

  • Plonk yourself on a bench in the park at lunchtime, watch the squirrels for a bit and breathe.

  • Do a quick five minutes sitting in the car before you go into the house. This can be the re-set button you need to stop thinking about work.

  • When you notice you want to punch someone, put your headphones on and listen to your favourite meditation app – lots to choose from here. You can always thump them after.

  • Get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning, yes really. Even if you’re not a morning person this is worth a try. Your brain will be a bit quieter and you will feel smug for the rest of the day.

  • Be realistic. Don’t plan to do an hour if your day is frantic. Five minutes is good.

  • Before you go out to the pub, sit on a chair and try this positive connection meditation. You’ll listen to your friends better and be nicer to the bar staff.

  • If you really don’t have any time to sit, try to pay attention to the present moment as this will at least give your mind a breather. Notice the sound of the plane flying overhead until it disappears or give yourself over to the crunch of your pork scratchings and do it with your full concentration.

Meditation doesn’t have to be formal. Squeezing it in where you can will help you just as much as having a regular routine.

meditation, Stark Reality, Wise things

Suck It Up!

natural_sea_sponge-500 copy.jpg

Sometimes meditation rubs your nose in painful but ultimately helpful truths.

Inescapable realities:

  • Your mind talks rubbish: anyone who tries to focus on their breath for five minutes knows this.

  • You’re insatiable: have you had enough food, sex, praise, comfort, holidays? Has anyone?

  • Because everything changes, you can’t rely on anything.

  • Your chimp-based evolution has wired your brain to see threats everywhere.

  • You’re going to die (okay, meditation doesn’t show you this directly but it’s true anyway).

You were shielded from most of these certainties when you were young but if you ignore them when you’re an adult you’ll create problems for yourself.

Gimmie the numbing distractions!

Popular methods for avoiding awkward truths include: working too hard,  taking drugs, over exercising, procrastinating, pornography, self-loathing and checking your phone every two minutes.

Meditation removes some distractions so you are gently forced to see how things really are. This can be daunting but sometimes your coping methods cause more problems than facing the truths themselves. Late night drinking to avoid the fact that you chose the wrong career might be causing you more difficulties than actually changing your job.

Of course in many ways drinking will seem like a much more fun option than acknowledging that you’ve wasted time in a job you don’t like.

But before you throw your meditation cushion in the skip…

Remember you can only deal with something if you acknowledge it exists in the first place.

When you accept How Things Actually Are it will be much easier to find a happier way to solve your problems. In the same way you don’t become furious at gravity when you fall off a ladder, accepting that life is a bit shit sometimes, helps you come up with better solutions.

You can also take comfort in the fact that everyone you know, and will ever know, also has to deal with the same crap. It might even bring you closer together.

Meditation can feel a little brutal sometimes but life is tricky enough without deceiving yourself.