From an early age, we’re conditioned that playing harder, studying harder, working harder will lead to direct rewards: recognition, good grades, a better job, wealth… This need to achieve can leave us (including, increasingly, our children and young people) feeling pressurised, exhausted and ‘not good enough’. This in turn can lead to a lack of well-being and knock-on conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression.
Mindfulness meditation is now recognised as one way to help alleviate some of this stress. However, for those conditioned to strive and achieve, meditation can also turn into something of a struggle.
How about if we were to view our mindfulness practice in a different way?
‘Calming The Mind’ author, Bob Sharple, writes: “Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough.”
He says meditation “offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in a knot. Instead there is now meditation as an act of love. How endlessly delightful and encouraging”.
Why not change your attitude towards mindfulness meditation and view it as an act of love and kindness towards yourself, rather than something else to add to your ‘to do’ list?