Tuesday, May 11, 2010


The second chapter of Full Catastrophe Living addresses the attitude needed to cultivate a mindfulness practice. Kabat-Zinn likens mindfulness to falling asleep. You can't force yourself to fall asleep, right? The more you try to make yourself fall asleep, the harder it becomes. Apparently, mindfulness meditation is the same. The idea is to create the conditions for mindfulness and then let go. 
Kabat-Zinn describes seven "pillars of mindfulness practice." 
  • non-judging - just watch whatever comes up as an observer
  • patience - "why rush through some moments to get to other, 'better' ones? After all, each one is your life at that moment"
  • beginner's mind - "...allows us to be receptive to new possibilities and prevents us from getting stuck in the rut of our own expertise, which often thinks it knows more than it does."
  • trust - in yourself and your feelings; "It is impossible to become like somebody else. Your only hope is to become more fully yourself."
  • non-striving - do not set any goals or desired outcomes for the eight week period
  • acceptance - "remember, now is the only time you have for anything. You have to accept yourself as you are before you can really change."
  • letting go - reminds me of when I fell down once while water skiing -- by instinct, I held on to the tow rope long after I'd lost my balance on the water - it was so painful! As soon as I realized that I needed to let go and then did, I just stopped bouncing along and slowly sank into the lake, no pain, no drama, my life vest held me comfortable up. I wonder if practicing mindfulness is like that life vest. I still haven't learned how to let go of that rope, though. 
Some other keys to developing this practice are to commit to 45 minutes at least 6 days a week. He also writes that people participating need to "kindle a vision of what they really want for themselves." He says this kind of personal vision helps keep you going when you don't feel like practicing or if you get discouraged. I need to think about what my vision is. Right now, a lot of my vision involves seeing myself as someone who is confident, not ashamed of being fully who she is, and not afraid of the future. I'd like to see myself as someone who is more grounded in herself and her own value so that she can soften and be more generous with others.  

1 comment:

  1. I love the seven pillars of mindfulness you listed. Sounds like a good book. If I could even master one of those, I'd feel like I made progress. They're all hard, but non-judging tops the list for me. Which one is most challenging for you? How have you been doing with the meditation? I can see you really having fun doing a vision board, too, since you're so visual. Reading your blog inspires me to focus on myself more. It's like a "Project Me!" I'm so glad you're giving yourself some time to heal and time to be kind to yourself.