Welcome to week two! I'd like to quote pages 94-95 of our book "Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World".
"The first week of the mindfulness program began the process of building a capacity for sustained mindful concentration and awareness. It may have given you a glimpse into the mind's inner workings and its tendency to "chatter". Gradually, moment by moment, you may have come to realize that although you can't stop the unsettling thoughts from arising in your mind, you can stop what happens next. You can stop the vicious circle from feeding off itself.
The next step is to deepen your capacity to see the mind's reactivity by learning to pay mindful attention to the body. Here, you can feel the first stirrings of emotionally charged thoughts. Instead of your body acting as an amplifier, it can become a sensitive emotional radar; an early warning system that alerts you to unhappiness, anxiety and stress almost before they arise. But if you are to learn to "read" and understand the messages from your body, you first have to learn how to pay attention, in detail, to those parts of the body that are the source of the signals. As you will soon discover, these signals can arise anywhere in the body. This means you need to use a meditation practice that includes every region of the body, ignoring nothing, befriending everything. And for this, we use the Body Scan."
This chapter also discusses how we often expect that, now that we have been practicing, that we will magically be able to clear our mind of all thoughts and how untrue that often is. Your practice will vary from day to day and month to month, not always in some clear trajectory. The day after your "amazing" meditation session might well be your biggest struggle, as you enter into the session expecting what you got yesterday. Each day, each moment, is different. And we are practicing sitting with whatever is present WITHOUT judgment (ack! why is it so hard to not judge??)
For this week, the Habit Releaser is going for a walk. Try to get in a 15-30 minute walk with an open frame of mind. Focus on your feet, the movements in your body, the smells around you, the sounds of the trees, animals, leaves. Try stopping and looking upward as well, seeing all the delicious details of nature or the manmade structures around you.
Click here for a printable copy of the week's homework
Practices for week two:
Body scan (recommended to do twice a day for 6 out of 7 days)
Mindful daily life activity
Habit releaser (mindful walk)
Let me know how you are doing!