Ever since I was first exposed to the beautiful world of mindfulness in April 2016, I’ve tried learning about a handful of tools, techniques, literature, and ideas about what mindfulness is and how it can be best applied to bring inner joy in the midst of daily chaos.
I have had the privilege to meet and greet with Shamash Alidina, best selling author and a leading teacher of mindfulness in the UK. I’ve been learning from his online courses, his book ‘Mindfulness at Work for Dummies’ and also from other experts like Jon Kabbat-Zinn, Eckart Tolle, Ajhan Brahm, and Leo Babauta.
As part of my attempts to learn first hand and then share with people who struggle with their own negative thinking (which has always driven me in life- to share whatever I know and have benefitted from so that others benefit from it too), I have come to learn first hand through mindfulness that ‘what arises, shall pass too’.
When you sit down to meditate, you will have a plethora of thoughts coming and going. But then, the idea is to let them be and just observe. One thought arises and passes in a jiffy giving way to some other forms. Research says we are likely to have over 60,000 thoughts throughout the course of the day. The key is to realize that thoughts are only thoughts and as long as we don’t identify with them and befriend them, we are at a good place. As someone who meditates daily, I’ve started to liken this process to our impulses and desires as we go about our daily lives.
Throughout the day, I personally have a lot of thoughts coming and going. Some of them are anxieties about the future- like what I’ll be doing in 10 years’ time, if I will be able to sustain a life driven by my passions given the ever increasing cost of living, and if I’ll be healthy given how polluted the city has become. Others are rumination about the past- decisions I had taken which have had ramifications in my life. Sometimes, it is about the urge to do more- an indication that the present isn’t good enough. Other times, the thoughts are about impulses and desires to follow certain trends so that I keep up with what’s hip and don’t fall behind.
Not just with negativity, but I’ve also come to realize that whatever praises, accolades, wins, and honors come our way, shall pass too- just like the coming and going of breath during meditation. This isn’t supposed to mean that we shouldn’t celebrate what has gone well for us. But rather, it is important to acknowledge it as and when it comes, feel it fully and then let go. If we get too stuck up on what has gone well, it will be tremendously difficult to accept when it goes away (and it will) paving the way for another wave of not-so good circumstances or thought processes to knock on our doors.
But whatever our thoughts be, just like in meditation, if we can train ourselves to just be and sit with them, we can save ourselves the trouble. All of these thoughts that arise will definitely pass away. The only question that remains then, is will we have befriended them and acted on them by the time they arise and pass again?