Author: Michael Decaire
In honour of Star Wars day (May the 4th be with you!), FLEX will be featuring a look at mindfulness trainings in popular culture throughout the month of May. We will start off the series with some trainings from one of the original pop-culture Mindfulness gurus, Yoda.
Named must your fear be before banish it you can. - Yoda (The Empire Strikes Back, 1980).
Many people mistakenly believe that mindfulness practice and mediation is about clearing your mind of strong emotions. This would suggest that there is some active attempt to suppress or push away these types of thoughts. Placing too much active energy towards any aspect of meditation is really the opposite goal in mindfulness and will undoubtedly lead to frustration (just another emotion to attempt to gain control over!).
Instead, mindfulness practice has a lot more to do with simply observing one's emotions as they rise and fall during a formal meditation practice or less formally when we go about our day. Being able to simply observe these emotions can be facilitated by labelling. Recognizing that something is simply a positive or nourishing thought, a negative or depleting one, or by a more specific label (e.g. a judgement thought, anger, or fear) allows us to step away from the emotional experience itself and facilitates an observer role. With no real effort, this can lead to eureka moments that can consciously guide our future behaviour (e.g. Hmm look at that. This happened and then I felt this way), may allow one to step out of a chain of strong emotions, or may simply prove to be just an interesting exercise in knowing oneself a bit better.
Join us back here in a few days with a few more wise teachings from Yoda or feel free to contact our team to discuss how Mindfulness training may also be able to help you manage strong emotions.
Art Credit: Navdeep Raj (San Jose, CA - http://bit.ly/1ewNXSJ)
The information provided on the Think FLEXibly Blog is for educational purposes only. These documents are not intended to be considered therapeutic guidance, nor should they be followed as a substitution to a well established therapeutic relationship.