Guest contribution by Wendy Quan
“Mindfulness” is not the easiest thing to explain to someone, but when you experience what it is, the light bulb turns on. You realize how it can profoundly affect your experience of everyday life.
You may know that being mindful means paying attention to the present moment, becoming very aware of your thoughts and emotions, and being as non-judgmental as possible.
There are many benefits to living a more mindful life, such as not ruminating about memories in the past or worrying about the future that has not yet occurred. This all leads to a less stressful existence and more enjoyment of the simple things in life within the present moment.
One benefit you may not hear about as often is that because you are more self-aware of your thoughts and reactions, you can consciously decide how you will live the very next moments in your life.
For example, here are two outcomes stemming from the same initiating circumstance:
The mindless way: Let’s say you just had a very frustrating interaction with a store clerk who, in your opinion, was incompetent and has a bad attitude. If you are not being mindful you might unconsciously fly off the handle, fume and spend the next hour telling your friends how stupid the clerk was. So, in other words, you are unconsciously reacting and living a stressful next hour in your day.
The mindful way: You are still frustrated with the clerk, but you walk away from the interaction self-aware, recognizing your frustration. You may pause and take a few mindful breaths. You may even label your emotion by silently saying to yourself “frustration!” Then, you decide what your very next moment will be: do you feed that frustration or do you let it go, calm down and move on to the next task at hand in your day?
Can you see that: Mindfulness influences your very next moment.
Mindfulness isn’t about being void of emotions, it’s about recognizing your emotions, accepting that you are human and will have human emotions, and consciously deciding how you want to live your next moment.
Interested in learning more? Join this summer’s Learn to Meditate Program (July 12, 19 & 26).
In recognition of the growing interest from our community in exploring mindfulness meditation practices, Wendy Quan is coming back this summer to UBC to offer a three-part course. The course is designed for those who are both new and experienced in the world of mindfulness meditation. It will introduce participants to the basic concepts of meditation and mindfulness techniques and is specifically tuned to the working environment.
Wendy Quan, founder of The Calm Monkey, is the industry leader in helping organizations implement self-sustaining mindfulness meditation programs to create change resiliency. She offers the first and only online and in-person training and certification of its kind, turning passionate meditators into Mindfulness Meditation Facilitators in the workplace and community.
Wendy is a certified organizational change manager who has been recognized as a pioneer by the Greater Good Science Center of the University of California, Berkeley and the global Association of Change Management Professionals. Her client list includes individuals around the world and organizations such as Google and the government of Dubai. Her life’s purpose is to help people create a better experience of life.