Mindfulness is one of the most valuable tools we have at our disposal to boost our emotional, spiritual and physical health. However, being mindful is not enough!
We can often question the power of mindfulness because we think simply knowing what our thoughts and feelings are will help. So to illustrate, let’s take an example.
Say you’ve had a bad day that’s left you feeling a lot of frustration and anger towards your circumstances.
Now, you may try being mindful by naming the thought and being as aware as possible about the thought and especially all those things that you don’t like. You hope this will be enough because we are told mindfulness is such a good remedy to stress. But in fact, the thoughts and feelings don’t go away and you begin to question whether this whole mindfulness thing works.
However, mindfulness is only the first part of the process. You not only need to be aware of your thoughts and how they affect your feelings, but you also need to accept these thoughts and find a place of equanimity with respect to them. I am not saying you need to accept the circumstances for your negative emotion – but you do need to accept the presence of the emotion itself.
Mindfulness is only half the battle for calm. The other half is acceptance
You not only need to be mindful of the fact that you’re frustrated but also that the frustration is here with you in the present and may not go away. You need to accept the frustration as a natural part of having a mind and living a life. When you do this, strangely enough, the frustration will not have such a strong hold on you and you may be able to notice it dissipate.
This technique is not easy. It requires a consistent practice of reigning in your mind to be fully present in the moment. However, it can be a powerful tool to transform your meditation practice and the quality of your life in general.