Life Before Mindfulness – The Best Things Come From Hard Work

Reflecting back upon my life before mindfulness, I am always amazed at how far I’ve come despite life’s constant reminders that my practice is always in need of some work.

Having the mind of a student is a virtue. It allows you to be open to new information. I pray I never allow myself to lose my sense of wonder and curiosity about the world. Worst of all would be to become someone who thinks they know everything.

The truth is constantly changing because our world and our understanding of it is always evolving. (Yes, I am also a lover of science.)

When we think we know everything we become blind to new truths as they appear before us. Too many people close off their minds. This is a huge part of what is wrong in the world.

All the most rewarding things in life require patience and hard work.

Like many people I can be very focused when working on a project that I enjoy. When an idea is in my head I won’t stop even when things seem to move at a snail’s pace. Persistence, baby steps, some things take years. The best things are worth every minute.

It’s always easier to work on or study something that interests you. Mindfulness, yoga, and then Buddhism had me hooked like nothing else. As I studied I tried to incorporate more and more of the techniques listed out in the Buddhist texts into my days.

I’m not sure what sparked the decision to start adding these mental practices to my life. At the time I had no idea if any of it would even work. It was a leap of faith. Inside I knew I needed something. I loved Buddhism. Maybe this was it?

As I mentioned earlier some things can be so gradual that you don’t notice them until you catch a glimpse of your life in the rearview mirror – only looking back over the entire distance you can see how far you’ve come.

There are a lot of lists in Buddhism and I really love lists. Checklists, keep me organized. Skills I want to learn, things I need to do, what to buy at the store. They are everywhere in my life and keep me on top pf my game.

I approached my new goals like a “better human checklist”.

Memorizing new routines and habits takes time. Having reminders in front of you can be a great tool when trying to keep things on your mind.

The hardest thing to conquer (and I am always working on this) was my mouth. I’m generally a pretty straightforward person who prefers direct communication. I also have a strange sense of humor. As a teenager, these traits were always getting me into trouble.

When in doubt listening quietly always seems to be a great option. Listening opens a doorway for knowledge and gives me something to do when I’m not sure what to say.

“Mind whirling like a washing machine, carelessly flinging thoughts and words around endlessly like dirty socks. It was all such a mess before mindfulness.”

I’m shocked as I flip back through the pages of my book. Five years ago, ten years ago, back, and back. Mind whirling like a washing machine, carelessly flinging thoughts and words around endlessly like dirty socks. It was all such a mess before mindfulness.

Seeing that improvement fuels my desire to learn more. I’ve  discovered a beautiful place while on my journey and never want to go back to a life without mindfulness.


12 thoughts on “Life Before Mindfulness – The Best Things Come From Hard Work

  1. As a mindfulness novice but one who’s already found it beneficial, it’s great to hear from more experienced practitioners about their experience. You’ve just given me even more determination to stick with it. I’d also like to learn more about Buddhism, having only studied it academically thus far. Thanks for sharing!

  2. It’s true that we have to be present and conscious, but it’s good to have a direction. I think making lists do help with keeping us all on the right path. I have been slacking on making lists lately, but I do have a white dry-erase board in the living room that I will be using again. 🙂

  3. Great post. I’ve become more interested in the whole subject of “mindfulness” recently – one of my friends is a healer that runs classes on it. I should tag along to one I guess.

  4. I have recently been working really hard on mindfulness. It really hard. My brain never seems to just be quiet. I haven’t given up. I’m hoping one day it will finally find peace & quiet.

    1. So, going the free and easy route. I REALLY love the Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Center podcast on itunes. They explain things in plain english. I also love the classics by great Buddhist teachers but they are not as easy to read as works like The Buddha Walked into the Office, etc. 🙂

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