Sunday, February 5, 2017

Live in the present moment

Imagine you had a bank account that deposited $86,400 each morning. The account carries over no balance from day to day, allows you to keep no cash balance, and every evening cancels whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every dollar each day!

We all have such a bank. Its name is Time. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever time you have failed to use wisely. It carries over no balance from day to day. It allows no overdraft so you can’t borrow against yourself or use more time than you have. Each day, the account starts fresh. Each night, it destroys an unused time. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, it’s your loss and you can’t appeal to get it back.

There is never any borrowing time. You can’t take a loan out on your time or against someone else’s. The time you have is the time you have and that is that. Time management is yours to decide how you spend the time, just as with money you decide how you spend the money. It is never the case of us not having enough time to do things, but the case of whether we want to do them and where they fall in our priorities. Be mindful and live in the present moment

"Fear of Failure" our biggest enemy in disguise

As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once or twice before?
If you are not ready to fail you can never create or innovate.

Failure is the stepping stone to success.

How mindfulness can help kids to transit from a vacation to classroom

Have you ever read a book and realised you have no idea what you've just read?
This is a classic case of not being in the moment, but it can be overcome with the regular practice of mindfulness.
Many families are easing the transition from holidays to school routines by practising mindfulness, the modern meditation technique of quietening the mind and bringing attention to the present.
Jon Korbat Zin n says mindfulness is basically awareness and paying attention to being in the moment. 
Living without awareness is like living with the lights turned off and not being able to see what's ahead of us — what he calls a state of mindlessness as opposed to mindfulness.
The benefits of mindfulness include improved attention and memory, reduced stress and better health. It can even lower disruptive and bullying behaviour in schools.

Helping kids be in the moment

There are two key reasons mindfulness is so important for kids.
"Firstly when we're not mindful it is very easy to slip into worry mode and get anxious about the future or the past. Our thinking becomes vulnerable to worry and rumination," he said.
"Kids who are getting anxious about school are often worrying about a future that hasn't happened."

HHow to be mindful

  • Don't multi-task: focus on what you are doing at any one the time
  • Avoid distraction: practise being in the present moment
  • Limit screen time especially social media and gaming
  • Practise regularly until it becomes a habit
The other key reason for kids to practice mindfulness is that if a child cannot engage their attention effectively they will not learn well.
The greatest  enemies of mindfulness are multi-tasking and distraction, by-products of too much screen time, particularly in children.
School going students who have a few minutes of mindfulness practice prior to a class will understand more and retain more information, and are more likely to engage with their study right across the board.

Making minds think


Often there isn't much structure during the school holidays. There can be a lot of stimulation

"We found after practising mindfulness there were big improvements in the quality of kids' sleep, improvements in behaviour and engagement at school, as well as children's safety at school."
"Teachers reported their classrooms were much less disruptive and there was less bullying."

Putting it into practice

There are two main ways you can practice mindfulness.
Formal practice is taking the time to sit and meditate in a quiet space, closing eyes and using techniques to focus on the breath or scan attention over the body.
Informal practice is what we do throughout the day as we go about our lives — making a coffee, washing dishes, eating, or walking from A to B — while being mindful of our actions, paying attention to them, and not being on auto-pilot.
The best thing parents can do to help children adopt mindfulness is to commit to the practice themselves.
The more present and mindful you are with your children, the more happy, mindful and resilient they will be. 
Parents make it fun, and practice as regularly as possible until it becomes part of a family's weekly or daily routine.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Why be mindful

In a forest, a pregnant deer is about to give birth.

She finds a remote grass field near a strong-flowing river.

This seems a safe place.

Suddenly labour pains begin.

At the same moment, dark clouds gather around above & lightning starts a forest fire.

She looks to her left & sees a hunter with his bow extended pointing at her.

To her right, she spots a hungry lion approaching her.

What can the pregnant deer do?

She is in labour!

What will happen?

Will the deer survive?

Will she give birth to a fawn?

Will the fawn survive?

Or will everything be burnt by the forest fire?

Will she perish to the hunters’ arrow?

Will she die a horrible death at the hands of the hungry lion approaching her?

She is constrained by the fire on the one side & the flowing river on the other & boxed in by her natural predators.

What does she do?

She focuses on giving birth to a new life.

The sequence of events that follows are:

- Lightning strikes & blinds the hunter.

- He releases the arrow which zips past the deer & strikes the hungry lion.

- It starts to rain heavily, & the forest fire is slowly doused by the rain.

- The deer gives birth to a healthy fawn.

In our life / business too, there are moments of choice when we are confronted on αll sides with negative thoughts and possibilities.

Some thoughts are so powerful that they overcome us & overwhelm us.

Maybe we can learn from the deer.

The priority of the deer, in that given moment, was simply to give birth to a baby.

The rest was not in her hands & any action or reaction that changed her focus would have likely resulted in death or disaster.

Ask yourself,

Where is your focus?

Focus should always remain on being in the present moment... Be mindful

4 Monks teaching the secret to success

*The Silent Retreat*

Four monks decided to meditate silently without speaking for two weeks. They began with enthusiasm and no one said a word the whole day. By nightfall of the first day, the candle began to flicker and then went out.

The first monk blurted out, "Oh, no! The candle is out."

The second monk said, "Hey! We are not supposed to speak!"

The third monk said in an irritated voice, "What is this? Why did you two break the silence?"

The fourth monk smiled and said, "Wow! I'm the only one who hasn't spoken."

~~~

Reflections:

Each monk broke the silence for a different reason, each of which is a common stumbling block in our inner journey. The first monk got distracted by one aspect of his experience (the candle) and forgot what was more important - *the practice of witnessing without reacting.* The second monk was more worried about others following the rules than in actually practicing himself. The third monk let his anger towards the first two monks affect him. And the fourth monk lost his way because of pride.

Why did the fourth monk speak at all? He could have simply maintained his silence and he would have been successful in his endeavor. But if he had, chances are, the other three might have continued to argue and not even noticed his silence. Some people are like this. Their motto is "If I'm doing something good, but no one notices, I might as well not be doing it at all." They believe that the reward is not in the effort, but in the recognition.

There is a beautiful quote, "It is the provence of knowledge to speak; it is the privilege of wisdom to listen." *As we learn to truly listen, witness and observe without impulsively reacting with distraction, judgement, anger and pride, then we understand the true meaning of silence.*

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