by clicking the "Next" arrow.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Mindful : December 2015
Habits of Resisting Habits of resisting, which manifest as frustra- tion, annoyance, impatience, anger, judgment, and similar emotions and mind states, tend to have a different feeling tone. We feel as if we’re defending ourselves, resisting a threat, or protecting ourselves from something that will harm us. Often we’ll feel tightness, tension, contraction, agitation, heat, or other “fight-or- flight” sensations. The accompanying thoughts or beliefs in our mind may urge us to act in a way that will change this unpleasant situation or experience. We can meet the habits of resistance by bringing our attention back to “what am I expe- riencing right now?” then meet what is here with a kind, curious, and accepting awareness. Bringing awareness to your breath helps to ease feelings of tightness and tension. Putting your hand on your heart can help temper thoughts of “I need to do something.” Sending a wish of peace and well-being to yourself, perhaps whispering “may I be peaceful,” can create a sense of inner space within which the difficult experience and sensations can be held. Here, too, the practice is to bring a kind, curious, and accepting attitude to what is present—choosing to stay with your direct experience rather than moving into habitual behavior. Habits of Busyness Finally, we can respond to habits of doing—the feeling that we’re always on our way some- where, feeling that something bad will happen if we don’t keep moving and getting things done—with the same attitude of kind, inter- ested, and accepting awareness. We begin by coming back to what we are feeling now, phys- ically, emotionally, mentally. We think, “things might be OK if I can just accomplish the next task.” We can feel frenetic, agitated, intense, or stressed out. Mindfulness invites us to experi- ence all the sensations and emotions associated with that energy without identifying with it. Mindfulness practice helps prevent us from getting swept up in the story of “I need to get this done or things will fall apart.” These four kinds of habits are not mutually exclusive. When we feel a craving for some- thing that we think will make us feel good, such as eating something sweet, we are often, at the same time, wanting to avoid an unpleasant feel- ing—for example, tension, worry, tightness, or numbness. Similarly, when we disconnect from the present and spend large amounts of time online, there is often a feeling of discomfort, If something triggers the urge to move toward an object you crave, you can open to the sensations, feelings, and emotions that arise—choosing to stay with what’s alive in the body and the emotions without acting on it. anxiety, or tension that we’re subconsciously seeking to escape. With each of these habitual patterns, the remedy is the same: to return to our present-moment experience and meet it with interest, friendliness, and acceptance. Untangling ourselves from habitual thoughts and beliefs Much of the stress, anxiety, and suffering in our lives comes from not bringing wise attention to our thoughts and beliefs, and treating them as “true.” We get swept up by the stories we tell ourselves. Our habit patterns play an important role in perpetuating thoughts and beliefs that lead to suffering. You might experience a loss or feel lonely or anxious and comfort yourself by eating something sweet, having a glass of wine, or zoning out in front of the TV for a few hours. That’s fine, but if you obsessively repeat the mindless behavior in response to the same difficult emotion, a habit of responding in this way develops. Your mind associates the tempo- rary release from unpleasant feelings with the new behavior and your thinking reinforces the behav ior. I feel better when I have a couple of beers. I ’ll feel sad/lonely if I don’t have a cigarette. Habits of resisting or aversion—yelling at one’s spouse or kids, responding to experience with frustration, anger, impatience, harsh judgment of ourselves or others—tend to have the underly- ing thought pattern, this needs to be different for me to feel OK. Or if I don’t change this, something really bad will happen. → December 2015 mindful 37