- Non-judging. We are constantly generating judgments about our experience. Everything we see is labeled and categorized. Become aware of this constant stream of judging and step back from it, then you can see through your prejudices and fears to find alternative solutions. When you find your mind judging, you don’t have to stop it. All that is required is to be aware of it happening. Judging the judging only makes matters even more complicated.
- Patience. Remind yourself that there is no need to be impatient with yourself because you find the mind judging all the time or because you are tense or agitated or frightened, or because you have been practicing mindfulness for some time and nothing positive seems to have happened. To be patient is simply to be completely open to each moment, accepting it in its fullness, knowing that things can only unfold in their own time.
- Beginner’s Mind. The “beginner’s mind” is a mind that is willing to see everything as if for the first time. It allows us to look beyond expectations based on past experiences, and to be receptive to new possibilities.
- Trust. Honor your own feelings and intuition without discounting them or writing them off because some authority or some group of people think or say differently. Practice taking responsibility for being yourself and learn to listen to, and to trust your own sense of self.
- Non-striving. Mindfulness meditation has no goal other than for you to pay attention to the way you are in the moment. Do not grasp for a particular state of mind. Just watch, and allow yourself to experience anything and everything from moment to moment.
- Acceptance. See things as they actually are in the present. Acceptance does not mean that you are satisfied with things as they are or that you are resigned to tolerating things as they “have to be.” It does not mean that you should abandon your principles and values, or abandon your desire to change and grow. Acceptance actually forms the springboard for change, because you are much more likely to know what to do and to have the inner conviction to act when you have a clear picture of what is actually happening.
- Letting Go. Letting go is a way of letting things be, of accepting things as they are. Let your experience be what it is and practice observing it from moment to moment.
A strong commitment to working on yourself and enough self-discipline to persevere in the process is essential to developing a strong meditation practice and a high degree of mindfulness. Set aside a particular block of time to practice, every day for at least six days per week, for at least eight consecutive weeks. This time must be protected from interruptions and from other commitments so that you can just be yourself without having to do or respond to anything. If you feel guilty about taking this time for yourself, remember that the degree to which you can really be of help to others depends directly on how balanced you are yourself.