A powerful influence taking us away from being “fully present” in each moment is our automatic tendency to judge our experience as being not quite right-that it is not good enough, or not what we wanted or expected. These judgements can lead to sequences of thought about blame or how things could or should be different. Often these thoughts take us, quite automatically, down some well-worn paths in our minds. In this way we lose awareness of the moment and the freedom to choose what action, if any, needs to be taken.
We regain our freedom if, as a first step, we simply acknowledge the reality of our situation without immediately being hooked into automatic tendencies to judge, fix or want something different. The truth is, though, that the old patterns of judgement are so deeply ingrained in us that we often get hooked before realizing it. Nevertheless, we have to start somewhere. We still have the opportunity to realize that we are hooked into an old pattern.
By practicing mindfulness, we become aware that we are hooked, step back, and loosen from the old pattern. This give use the chance to take a look at our first reaction. Many times we discover that our first reaction is not constructive or healthy. At that moment, we have a real opportunity to make a more intentional and effective choice. In the process, we are creating new, healthy patterns of thinking, feeling, behaving, and being.
When I conduct mindfulness trainings it’s often difficult for people to recognize that they have more control of their lives and minds then they give themselves credit for. The tendency to emotionally react to the unexpected or the pain often feels like you are out of control but only because “we think” we are. Often I hear “that’s just the way it is,” “that’s how it’s always been,” or “that’s just how I am.” This type of thinking is destructive and does not allow for the psychological space needed to incorporate change.
Today reflect on the times you have emotionally reacted during a race and saw your performance drop. Think about how many times have you said to your self “that’s just how I am or how it is” and remained complacent and as a result never really committed to improving or changing.
Keep reaching for your peak and I will see you at the top! Keep shining my friends!