How to Build Mindfulness
Let's talk a little bit about, how do we actually build more mindfulness into our lives, what does it look like? So we're gonna start from the backwards. I want you to think about the outcome you want first, and then, we're gonna talk about the skill we need to build to get to that outcome, and what practice we can actually do habitually that's gonna tie it all together. So an outcome is the end result we're after, not the process, okay? So example of that one might be, we wanna interrupt people less. I do this. When I'm not doing well, I'm like coaching people or I'm teaching people, and they're talking, and I'm like, "Uh huh," and I'm doing that breath where they know that I wanna talk, and I'm like, kind of listening but I'm just really excited, and I interrupt people. So less interrupting might be an outcome you want. Maybe be more calm, more calm and chill. I'm not so chill, but inside I'm actually feeling calm most of the time, but I have this swirl outside. But that took a long ...
time for me to become calm, took a lot of work. Some of the practices I'm gonna show you. Curiosity. Am I, instead of just going right to the answer, here's my solution, I'm gonna fix it. All of you managers are paid to fix problems, so you become little fix-it people, with hammers and nails, looking to just bop, bop, fix, fix, fix, fix, fix. So being curious is stepping out of the fix-it mentality to learn first, be a little more creative, okay? So here's a few more you might wanna do: Be a visionary, we talked about that earlier. Maybe be a little more improvisational. Okay, I don't know what I'm gonna say yet or what's gonna happen, but I'm gonna roll with it. I wanna be a great listener. Discipline's a big one, too, right? Like, can I do things consistently? Now, a skill is a developed capacity to do something well and have a desired outcome. So when we have a skill, let's say you have the skill to play piano, you can reliably put up a piece of sheet music and play the song that you know you can play, that's a skill. I can play that song, right? I have done something enough times that I can do it well, and I get my desired outcome of hitting the keys at the right way. So it's a skill that you carry forward. I am a piano player, right? I am a tennis player. I am a reliable public speaker. So what these skills might be is mindfulness. Am I aware of what's happening right now? How close to the reality versus the story in my head? What's actually happening, versus the story I'm telling, that's how mindful we are. Response flexibility. That means, something happens, and you have a reaction, but instead of just following that reaction just mindlessly and just being carried, you actually have resistance, and can be responsive, meaning you can choose your response instead of being reactive. And how much time you give yourself between the reaction and the response, that's response flexibility. So you say something and it kinda hurts my feelings, and I get angry, but I have response flexibility, I've trained that, I'm able to breathe through it, remember you probably didn't mean it that way, and it's not about me. It's just like, and I'm able to calm myself and get back in my heart and breathe, right? That's response flexibility. Compassion. This is the skill of applying thought and love to someone, like meditating on them. Meditating on a situation, that's actually a skill. Focus, we talked about that one, right? Can I stay connected to the thing I want to do my intention? Whew, this is the superpower of superpowers. Creative ideation. Am I able to create an environment where my brain can actually be creative, versus just being like, to-do, to-do, to-do? Okay, so those are some good skills. Now, a practice is something you can actually do repeatedly to improve or maintain a proficiency in a skill. So, let's talk about some of the basic ones, and some of the other ones. So a very common form of mindfulness is the practice of meditation, and one form of meditation is vipassana. I think I'm really bad with my Hindu, but vipassana is about breath, that's like what the word comes from. So it's like, following your breath meditation. Then there is meditation where you think about a mantra. It's called transcendental meditation. You just pick a mantra, and you say it over and over and over and over and over in your head. Alright, that's a different form. Visualization. You might close your eyes, and have a guide invitation which sounds like, "Imagine a field of golden rolling hills." Or like "Happy Gilmore", where he has his happy place, and he's being served pitchers of beer, and he can play golf, like you might do visualization in your happy place. And that might help with creativity, for example. You might go walking, and be really present with your walk. That's a skill, alright? That walking meditation, it's gonna center you, probably help you focus. Yoga is a really good one. They have you hold like a really challenging pose, this is not a yoga pose, by the way, that's why it's funny, I think. But you get in a stress position, and you're like sweating and you're shaking, and they're asking you to breathe intentionally, right? So you're able to focus on your intention even while you're getting distracted by the pain in your body or the stress in your body, right? That's why it can help you build those skills. So I wanna give you a quick experience of a mindfulness practice that can build a skill. So, power breathing is something that's gonna hyper-oxygenate your body, and what it's gonna hopefully do is slam you all into presence in a moment, because it's gonna be an intense experience, so you're not gonna really be able to be anywhere else. You're gonna have to be here. Some people have a really hard time sitting and meditating, because their brain's like, whee! This is for really active people, and it's actually really good for your body, too, it helps you be more outgoing. The way we're gonna do this is we're gonna do 30 circular breaths, and I'm gonna count them out for you, you're just gonna breathe along. And we do a full inhale, and then we do a passive exhale, so it looks like this: I'll be silly first, then you be silly with me, okay? And at home, make sure you're doing this along, you're probably even less silly, because no one's watching you, probably. So, the breath looks like (rapid inhaling) So I'm breathing in my belly, then my chest and my head fully, and then the breath is just falling out, I'm not pushing it, okay? So let's do three breaths together, just to practice, okay? You ready? One, two, three. (rapid inhaling) Great, it's gonna be rapid like that. Really take that full breath in. Alright, so we're gonna do 30 of those. I will help you count, and Chris, you can help us count as well. Then, on the last breath, you're gonna inhale fully, and you're gonna exhale completely, and you're gonna hold your breath with no air in your lungs. So instead of (inhaling) we're gonna do (inhaling and long exhale) and you're gonna sit there, okay? You should be able to do that for up to three minutes, potentially. The way we would normally do this is do three sets of this, and by the third one, you'd be able to hold your breath definitely for three minutes, but it should be at least a minute, probably. And then, once you need to take a breath, which is totally fine at any time, you inhale deeply and hold that for 15 seconds, okay? And I'll help remind you of this. Now, if you've never done this before, it might be very uncomfortable in your body. I would invite you to just lean into that sensation, it's actually part of the experience. If at any time you feel super uncomfortable, just stop. There's no need to do this, but I would encourage you to lean in, if you can, okay? Any questions about this before we start? I see some faces, everyone's like a little bit nervous but kind of excited, great. So we're gonna do 30, remember, and then the last one, breathe in, and let it out fully, okay? So on three, we're gonna start. Breathe with me, I'll be counting. Okay, here we go, one, two, three: (rapid inhaling) Halfway. (rapid breathing) Ten more. (rapid breathing) Five more. (rapid breathing) Last one. (exhaling) Wherever you're at with the sensations, lean into the sensation. You could probably still be holding your breath right now. Remember when you do need to take a breath, inhale deeply and hold that for 15 seconds. Full breath in, when you do take one. What's funny here is, you should be really able to feel the difference in your body energetically. You should be noticing how your thoughts are different, maybe the speed, what you're thinking. Maybe there's even an emotional shift that happened. Wherever you are, I'll ask that you take that breath and hold for 15 seconds, even if you're still holding it, take that full breath in, hold for 15 seconds, just to keep us moving. Some of you probably could have lasted a full three minutes, good for you. Great, so what I wanna know then, is, and I want you to be able to just write down for a second is how do you feel in your mind, your body, and your emotions? How do you feel in your mind, your body and your emotions? Kinda check in with those three elements of your reality. Just one thing from each. One thing from mind, one thing from body, one thing from emotions. Okay, let's share a few. How are you feeling, how was that?
[Female Audience Member] Great.
Great, right? So tell me what was great about it. What was the experience? What were the sensations? What'd you get out of it? Yeah.
My mind was calm, my body was relaxed, and my emotion was at ease.
Wow. How long do you think that took, to do that?
[Female Audience Member] Not long at all.
No. How about, what else were people doing? Similar things? Anything different or additional?
[Female Audience Member] I almost said happy.
Yes, don't almost say it, say it! Happy! This is happy. You're putting oxygen in your body. You're putting more oxygen than you're used to in your body, and it's also kinda fun, right? You're like allowing yourself to be silly and not be so tight, right? Anything else?
[Male Audience Member] I felt like actually like a tingly feeling.
All over, right? To your extremities? Yeah.
All over, it was like oxygen's kinda going in, yeah.
(imitating explosion noises) Healing, growing, expanding, yes. So the trick there I want you to understand about this is, this was an action, it's a practice, okay? So if you are feeling scattered, one way to not really help yourself get un-scattered is to think your way out of the problem. If it's an overactive mind that's got a lot of fear and anxiety and too many things going on, or it's frustrated, asking that same mind to be the thing that's gonna take you out of it is not a great way to go about it. So this is a physical, you're changing your physical state to change your mind state, your emotion state, and your body state. But it is an action. So for you, if you didn't like that, that's okay. Maybe you're a yoga person, maybe you're a walking person. Maybe you like to sit and do a guided meditation. Doesn't matter to me. Find the practice or the action that's gonna get you the outcome you want, and know that it takes an action.