It has been 6-months and 2 weeks since I have started the mindfulness journey. It has been a difficult time in keeping up with this training. For the past few months, I have been thinking about taking a break from this training as I have not been able to execute it the way I envisaged it when I started. However, I did not want to easily give up. But now the time has come to take a deep breath and stop for a while… Continue reading
It is late night as per my standards – around 1030 PM. But I want to post this update when I am still in this beautiful place called Kotagiri, a hillstation in Tamil Nadu. I came here to spend a few days with my family as the kids have gotten holidays for a local festival and I had absolutely beautiful time here – I am so grateful for this episode of reflection and rejuvenation that is granted by my Loving Lord. I have come here 2-years back and I can sense how much more blissful this time the journey/stay has been and I attribute a part of this experience to the mindfulness training.
Though we are away from home, we were treated to homestyle food and excellent hospitality at this little cosy cottage named Moonshadow. What an apt name for the resort as we got to see the wonderful waning crescent moon and its shadow showing us the full-circle of the moon which is not easily visible – We got to see this wonderful sight right from our balcony and we got so much joy in watching the sunrise and sunset together as a family!
Now let us get on to the progress update…
It was around 345 AM on Jan 1, 2017 and I came out to the balcony to start my day with mindful observation of the sky and creation around – it has been about a month since I have started this new habit. Typically, I am alone, undisturbed by anyone – the entire surrounding is very silent. But this day, I saw a number of bikes coming into our street and only then I realized that this is new year’s day and these young boys/girls must be coming back from new year parties. This got me thinking about the new year parties and the whole hype around celebrating new year…
3-months just got over since I have started the journey on mindfulness training. Any mindful reader would have noticed that I have not posted my weekly updates for the last 4 weeks now. Last update I did was about a month back, in which I have promised to write about the item that toppled my mindfulness journey completely. Here I go…
Last week was unusual – a number of events happened, some of them I had control over and some of them I had no control over. Given that I was practicing mindfulness, both set of events should have been easier to handle : What I had control over, I should have been able to take calm and well-thought-out actions and what I did not have control over, I should have done the best I could do and leave the rest to the Almighty. What is surprising about the turn of events is this: the events that should have made me reactive and negative did not make me reactive but made me more mindful and hence grateful. But the events which were 100% under my control made me reactive to the extent I ended up falling sick. The villain from the inside, the Judge or the Nafs, succeeded in getting me out of the mindfulness zone. Continue reading
I am writing this update very late this week – I was unwell for a few days and that made it difficult to spend time blogging. However, I do not want to break the weekly pattern. Hence, here is a short update about 2 mindful experiences that I had: One led me to experience bliss in a very mundane activity like bathing and another one led me to realize one of the most profound lessons on parenting – one that I realized only a few years back, but still keep stumbling in implementing it.
Last week has been a week of stress testing for my mindfulness training. In every new undertaking, there comes a time when the question arises – Is this journey worth it? Am I capable of crossing this bridge? Last week had turned out to be such a time for me where I could observe a lot of commotion in my mind about this mindfulness journey.
For the record, here is my performance on 100 PQ reps: I did not do 100 reps on even one day. In fact, I did not even remember to count. But on the positive side, I was aware of my mind-chatter most of the times and I was able to bring back my mind to calmness by focusing on my breathing or some other physical sensation (this is the essence of a PQ rep – calm your mind by focusing on a physical sensation).
L’aéroport de Genève vous accueille dans un nouvel épisode de ‘Mindfulness Training’ – Geneva Airport welcomes you to another episode of Mindfulness Training. I am at Geneva airport and boarding has already started and I hope I can quickly post an update before I embark on the journey.
It is just 3 weeks in Geneva but it feels like a long time – this is one of the benefits of mindfulness, I guess – time seems to go slow and hence seems long whereas when we are impatient or unmindful, time seems to go fast and hence everything seems short. This is not the first time I am having this experience but definitely this time is remarkably better! All I can say is ‘All praises and thanks to the Almighty for taking me on a journey to a familiar place to practice living in a different way – partly the difference in mindset is due mindfulness, partly due to the fact that I am just a traveler and partly due to the fact that I was reflecting a lot more on death.
But the net effect of all these 3 factors is that I was filled with gratitude – even for the things that did not go my away. Many days, I woke up with the feeling that I have been given a brand new day to make use of – that perspective almost had an immediate impact on my body especially when it did not want to wake up and was under discomfort.
Today, I woke up to the news of the death of a close relative – someone who was living close to us, someone with whom we have had a lot of interactions – the news came as a shock and a sense of sadness engulfed me. Deep in my heart, I wanted to be back in India to attend his funeral prayer and to supplicate to the Almighty to enter this Uncle into His mercy. Intellectually, I understand death and I do think of death often, but even then it is a very different experience when someone close to me died.
I said in one of my earlier posts that it is calm after the storm. The opposite is also true, I guess:). After such a calm and mindful during my first week in Geneva, the second week here has been a rollercoaster – packed with activities, deadlines and surprises at work. I was running around most of the days, with a feeling of trying to catch up with things in a reactive way.
It is 10 PM on Sunday night here in Geneva and I just returned to the hotel after meeting with my old friends. It has been a fantastic week – packed with a lot of activity, but calm and mindful. I feel that I am a very different person in these 7 days that I have been here – I could sense that there is something different about me. I seem to have more energy and I feel more connected to the Creator. This week of positive snowballing,I guess, started with the flight from Chennai to Dubai and then Dubai to Geneva.
Chennai International Airport welcomes you to another episode of ‘Mindfulness Training’ 🙂 – I am writing this at the airport before taking my Emirates flight to Geneva.
This week has been extremely busy, a week where being mindful would have benefitted me a lot. However, the outcome has been mixed bag – I missed doing PQ reps one day – So, I got 6 out 7 for the last week. In the rest of the 6 days, I have had some great days, really mindful, calm, energized and positive. And a few other days where I was constantly thinking about the past or the future, distracted, trying to do PQ reps to bring me back to the present and feeling the stress in my body.
These kind of days are not new to me, especially when there is travel involved and multiple deadlines come to me at once – leaving me scrambling between different things. But this time, there was a huge difference – I was aware of my thoughts and my body. I could feel the various sensations in my body. I could observe that my mind was often taking me out of the present into the future – So, I have had many flights last week 🙂 – flights of imagination, of course.
So, it has been 2 weeks since I have started on this 1-year journey of mindfulness. The 2nd week was much better than the first week. In the first week update, I went through the different areas where I am trying to cultivate the habit of mindfulness. This week, I want to change the format a little bit to look at it from another perspective: the perspective of time as the days provide us a beautiful constant rhythm to take a look at whether there is a rhythm to the habits that we are trying to build into the day.
Here we go, starting last Friday (the day I posted the last week update):
So, it has been a week since I have started on this 1-year journey of mindfulness. Typically, when I am starting any new habit, I observe myself in one of the 2 states:
- Strong Preparation: This means that I spend a lot of time and energy in preparing myself for the change, thinking things through and preparing a plan – allocating a time and a place to do the habit and thinking about various challenges that could come up in making the change. Informing people around me if the habit touches them in some way and asking for their help. And religiously guarding the allocated time-slot so that I get a lot of positive vibes at the beginning itself.
- Jumping in with little or no preparation: In this case, the habit is there in my mind and I do my best to implement it. But the energy tapers off after the first few days. And when things get busy and the events of the day make me reactive, I would even forget that I am on a new habit journey until I go back to the Habit tracker the next day.
So, take a guess – which state was I in last week? In state 2: I wanted to reread the book fully to mentally prepare for the year-long journey and to think through how I would do the 100 PQ reps in a day. However, I could not find the time to go through the book beyond the first few pages. First 2 days were great – However, reality caught with me on the 3rd day and I missed reaching the count of 100 reps. So, for the records, I have only done 100 PQ reps on 4 out of 7 days. My initial expectation was to do 7/7 – now, that is the target for the second week 🙂
Now let us get into the details – what areas am I trying to be more mindful and what are my goals? Continue reading
2 weeks ago, the Islamic new year started and I was thinking about whether I need to build any new habit in this new year. Normally, I am not a person who sets goals for habit changes only at the New Year, but I do it throughout the year. If I see a need for a change in any area of my life, I work on it immediately and over time, I have had hundreds of habit changes, some easy and some hard. Some have become permanent habits and some still require upkeep. As of now, I am actively tracking around 10 habits on a daily basis. But as I was reflecting, I realised that there is a mother-habit, if I can call it that way, that can make all other habit changes easy and it would also have the highest impact on me and the people around me – that is the habit of mindfulness. Continue reading