My spiritual teacher once offered me a deep teaching referring to it as ‘The Keys to the Universe’.
Reflecting on both the teaching and the image of the keys, I came to understand the powerful capacity of mindfulness to unlock our awareness, our potential, our strength, but only if we practice regularly. The simple secret is showing up.
The comment I hear most frequently in mindfulness class is this:
I really want to practice mindfulness more often, it’s just I am sooo busy. It’s impossible for me to find time… So lets try and break through this inertia together and see if there is a simple way to make mindfulness a regular thing.
First of all we need to do a bit of a sense-check to see whether there is a deeper block behind the suggestion that it our busy-ness that is stopping us from mindfulness practice.
When we use the busy excuse (and we use it a lot) we are usually communicating two things:
1) This is not that important to me.
2) I don’t really want to do it.
You know this is true, because as soon as someone suggests something that you are super-keen to do, your diary clears miraculously, or you move heaven and earth to make it happen.
So check in with yourself with genuine curiosity (no judgment). How important is practicing mindfulness to you on a scale of 1-10? If it is any less than a 7 or 8, realistically, you just aren’t going to do it. It will also indicate, that you don’t really want to do it either, you may just like the idea of it. If that is the case: cool, now you know where you are, and you can wait until you feel a stronger motivation to practice, before giving it another go.
Although mindfulness is becoming mainstream, it is by no means compulsory, and just may not be your bag right now. It usually serves our personal development to listen to, and honour, these natural rhythms and urges that show up in our lives. Mindfulness isn’t going anywhere, you can catch up with it at any time.
OK, so if you are in the other category and you do really want to land your mindfulness practice, it’s time to get professional. In other words, you need to bring the same degree of professionalism to your mindfulness practice as you do to brushing your teeth. Sounds ridiculous right, but you do manage to brush your teeth every day without fail… twice. So, disengage the excuses, pick a slot in your morning routine, allocate it for mindfulness practice (even if only 5 minutes) and start showing up with dedication, commitment and with your best self.
I promise you will not regret it.
(And remember: when you talk about mindfulness, without practicing it, you are just dreaming about the keys, without ever trying them in the door…)