Mindfulness Activity #111
Good Morning. Time Magazine released an issue on the “mindfulness revolution. Business Executives at Google and Goldman Sachs regularly train on mindfulness. The Harvard Business review has featured stories on mindfulness. It has been touted for the findings that it boosts creativity, innovation and problem solving.
Who couldn’t use more creativity and problem solving these days? Today’s mindfulness activity will focus on this topic. For those who have been practicing, you have been slowly increasing your capacity to be mindful. Perhaps you are noticing a difference in your interactions, in your mood, or in your ability to get engaged in things.
For today’s practice, call to mind a problem you have, or a decision you need to make. If you cannot think of one, you can draw on something from the news or a problem someone you know has discussed with you. Sit comfortably, stretch your back up tall as you begin to settle into your familiar deep breaths in and out. Now, if you like you can set a timer, but you don’t need to if you are not rushed.
5 minute Timer:
Breathe in and out and call to mind the dilemma, situation, or problem you are thinking of. Try to examine it, like you might examine a raisin or an orange in a mindfulness observation practice. Take in all facets of your problem without judgment. If you notice judgment arise, breathe and try to restate what you mean in terms of your experience. For instance, instead of “this will never work”, try, “I feel frustrated and defeated by this problem. I fear this will never change”. Examine yourself and your experience of the problem as you examine facets of it. As you continue to breathe, play around with new information or innovation—do not worry if it can work or is realistic…just think and brainstorm. Allow thoughts to float in and out. If you wish, you can try to generate a half smile while thinking to amplify positive emotions which have been linked to creativity. Know that all things change and that in this present moment, you are breathing and well despite the challenges presented by your problem. When the bell rings, allow yourself to stop thinking about the problem. Return your attention to the present moment.
Exercises like these boost creativity by teaching us to think outside the box-to query what’s been left out. They also teach us patience because, if you are like me, you might feel like you should have solved the issue in 5 minutes. Zen teaches us we cannot control everything but also that when we let go of control and use all our attention, our wisdom can help us to choose the best course.
I wish you much creativity and energy today.