How can we live a life in alignment with our values?
When I am aware of the present moment as it is. Be present to what is going on in my body, my thoughts, my emotions. It is in the here and now, at this moment just as it is. That could be just feeling my hands on this desk or feeling the wind in my hair. It brings me into the only moment that I have in which to experience life, and in that moment, I can actually change the future because I can be wiser and more skillful how I show up in this moment. Quite frankly, as I live a better and more present moment over and over again, I am actually changing my past. Because those present moments become my past moments in the future.
For people who are trying to be more mindful, what are some easy first beginner steps to take?
The best thing is to spend time with people who are already doing those things you want to bring into your life. Finding people who are a little further along in which you want to bring into your life already. The next thing is starting small. It is more important to have regularity of practice than a length of practice. For example, two minutes of silence and mindfulness, just feeling the breath coming into my nose and out of my mouth. Building rituals into your life is really helpful. When you wake up, before you go to sleep, just little moments in that you reconnect with yourself.
Why is being mindful so hard sometimes?
Mindfulness can be painful for people because they do not like what they see. They see all the anger, the delusion, the greed, the dissatisfaction of life. But that brings wisdom because it says, “Well, I cannot trust these thoughts, I do not want to believe anything that I think.” We are not what we smell or what we see or taste; we are also not our thoughts. We get to see that through meditation, but at first, it’s painful. Because when we associate with our thoughts, we get to know our thoughts, and we realize that our thoughts are very destructive and harmful, and that is who I am, and that is not good news. However, with mindfulness, you touch into a different experience and get to know a peaceful, non-reactive, and heartfelt part of yourself. That helps to create a contrast so that we can see what is possible.
Mindfulness can be painful for people because they do not like what they see.
What is meditation really for?
The real benefit of meditation is to simply pause in life. For example, when you eat, taste the food, the bitterness, or sweetness, you are pausing before the next bite. It creates a place where you are not in a hurry. Think about the many things you work towards, to achieve, to attain, and when you get to them, it is never enough. But with mindfulness, you are opening up to gratitude for the things that you do have, the things you worked towards. You are actually in the present moment instead of thinking about the next thing that could bring you happiness or wellbeing.
How does your inner practice look like?
On a daily basis, I meditate for 20-30 minutes twice a day. It’s very valuable how you start a day, it creates a tone for the rest of the day. So, when I wake up, I always think about what I am grateful for. I think of the loved ones in my life, how I serve the world, and just the gift of having a healthy body. I start my calls with a few mindful minutes with the people I am speaking if possible. Before I eat, before I get into the car, I pause for the most part. I try to set reminders for myself during activities, like walking, speaking, writing an email to bring in intentionality, heart, and presence.