When you first begin an exercise routine at the gym, you use small weights or slower speeds until you build up your strength. The same is true in meditation practices to develop mind strength. You begin with easy practices like mindfulness of breathing or walking meditation and develop these into deeper, more rewarding experiences.
Dr. Ronald Alexander, in his book, Wise Mind, Open Mind: Finding Purpose and Meaning in Times of Crisis, Loss, and Change, talks about developing mindstrength.
When times get tough, such as a fight with your spouse, a moody boss, or another week of overtime work, he recommends this four step process:
Meditation Practices To Develop Mind Strength
Step One: When you are first triggered, stop yourself from responding with any unwholesome emotional reaction, such as anger.
Step Two: Next, focus on your breath. Feel your body expand as you breathe in and contract as you exhale.
Step Three: While focusing on your breath, silently repeat to yourself for a couple of minutes or until you feel a shift in your emotions words such as calming, centering, relaxing, harmony, peacefulness, and/or surrender. Of course, if you are all alone you can say these words out loud.
Step Four: Within this short period of time you are now able to respond to the situation
with more equanimity and from a place of mindful reflection, or what I call mindstrength. This is the ability to very quickly and easily shift out of a reactive mode and become fully present in the moment, experiencing the full force of your emotions even as you recognize that they are temporary and will soon dissipate.
With practice, mindstrength is an effective tool to help one develop a deeply-grounded core rudder so that no matter what size of wave they encounter in their life they can recover quickly and proceed with more focus. The business yogi of the 21st century has the capacity and ability to pair together intention and attention to make life’s entire daily challenges a true meditation in action.
Dr. Alexander’s advice goes hand in had with mindfulness practices to develop mind strength, or, as he says, “mindstrength.” I wholeheartedly support this process of meditation in action and stopping to take a sacred moment.
You can also stop and take a sacred moment when you see a beautiful sunset, or behold your new born baby, or celebrate any one of a number of wonders of life. This is the beautiful thing about meditation practices: you don’t only do them when you are sitting or lying down in your meditation position. You could easily learn to do walking meditation or mindfulness practices when you are brushing your teeth.
Meditation in Action
Dr. Anderson was interviewed on Let’s Talk Live:
These are practices you can take with you wherever yoiu go. You can stop for a moment to enjoy the lilies in the pond, watch the kids playing or take the dog for a walk.
With practice you will develop mindstrength, just like you would develop physical strength in the gym.
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