We are in an age of self-improvement. We may chide ourselves for being easily stressed, not being able to attain a goal, or of being a disappointment to others or to ourselves. We try to solve these problems by reading self-improvement books or get coaches to help us become better. Mindfulness is the new kid on the block for people looking to improve themselves. However, the practice of mindfulness is not to create a better self because you are complete.
Many may think that mindfulness is a practice to attain a state of peace in the mind. Though in truth, the practice of mindfulness is the peeling off of layers of the self to look within.
We Create Many Layers of Self
You may have been on earth for twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, or sixty years. Throughout these years, you may have been loved, praised, blamed, and criticized. Your parent may have scolded you because you had bad grades in school. You may have expressed your feelings to someone who doesn’t let you down gently but berate you. You may have been given a look of disappointment by someone who mattered to you in your life. You may have been unreasonably told off for bad behavior. You may also have been loved and did your best in a relationship only for it to fall apart.
All of these events in our lives cause us to come up with stories of ourselves. We see ourselves through others’ eyes and thoughts. Some people think you are funny, some think you dislike them, some think you are rude – all at the same time. If you were to look through the lens of others, who are you really?
Mindfulness Does Not Create A Better Self
Mindfulness is not a practice to create another layer of self that is peaceful, calm, and happy. We all live with these many different selves we hold at different moments, there is no need to create more versions. In fact, the reason why there is so much stress could be our inability to handle all the opinions of others, concepts, and stories we read online. Stress is also accumulated because we believe in an idea of a self.
For example, you may think you are a compassionate person. So you go out to help others in need. However, there is a limit to your patience and your compassion soon runs out. You then behave in a regrettable way, feeling bad for your behavior because you believe you are a kind person.
It is good that you strive to be a good person, and in the process of developing patience, if you notice your impatience. However, if your compassion comes with arrogance – and you don’t notice it, then it is just a delusion. So you see, the self is an idea we strive to uphold all the time. Not many of us strive to be good and be patient or non-judgemental at the same time. Our goodness has a limit and comes with judgment. The practice of mindfulness lets us peel off these layers to see for ourselves if we truly are kind, compassionate, or if we are just compassionate in moments that require it.
If you attach the idea that you are a compassionate person – though only on occasions when you are in the mood for it – it can be offensive to you when others offend you. You may think, “This person is so mean and unkind, unlike me. I can’t be bothered with him.” There is that delusion within the mind, thinking, and comparing one’s higher virtues to others – that compassion is already lost without the person noticing it.
You Are Enough
There’s a celebrity hypnotist Marisa Peer who likes to use the word, “You are enough” to empower people seeking her help. Hearing her speak candidly with honesty, you know that Peer has done a lot of work on herself to come to realize that she is complete. Her realization has empowered her to tell you that you are complete.
You do not need to engage a hypnotist to help you if you are not into being hypnotised. You may think hypnosis is a suspicious practice. I have gone through hypnosis myself and can share that it does open your mind and change your heart when you see your own beliefs.
However, the job is not done with one hypnosis session. Some people go for repeated sessions. For me, mindfulness is a good tool to maintain equilibrium and to get to know myself and to live joyfully daily, knowing that I am enough.
Mindfulness Removes Illusions
The mental faculty of mindfulness knows when thoughts and emotions arise. It knows when the urge to be greedy and feeling of hate arise. It knows when a good thought of being kind has arisen. In normal mindfulness practice, we are not able to know every thought and feelings as we delve into concepts day after day at work and in conversations.
However, the sweet taste of the fruit of mindfulness comes, when your consistent practice shows you who you really are and how inconstant all of your thoughts and moods are. You may not be mindful 24/7 a day, but your practice may be enough for you to realize the wonder of life itself and that there is no need to create a self in order for you to be happy.
To understand more about mindfulness and practice, get in touch with us. We offer in-person as well as online mindfulness courses.