Mindful Moments for Stressful Days: Simple Ways to Find Meaning and Joy in Daily Life

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9781580174282: Mindful Moments for Stressful Days: Simple Ways to Find Meaning and Joy in Daily Life

We read a book about meditation, stress reduction, or mindfulness. Then we get cut off in traffic, return home to find that our spouse has left the dishes in the sink again, or learn that the check we wrote to the electric company has bounced. What we need is a way to keep our inner balance through the trials of daily life.

MINDFUL MOMENTS is a collection of tips and exercises focusing on simple ways to make mundane tasks meaningful - from standing in line at the grocery store to house cleaning to sitting through meetings at work. Go through the day assuming that everyone you meet has something to teach you. Turn stressful tasks like paying bills and managing your accounts into opportunities to focus your mind on thoughts of prosperity and plenty. The approaches to creating a harmonious, conscious life vary from simple breathing exercises and meditation techniques to information on aromatherapy, feng shui, and yoga postures. Tips on conscious cooking and eating explore how nutrition affects your state of mind.

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About the Author:

Tzivia Gover is a contributor for the following Storey Books Title: Mindful Moments for Stressful Days

Kent Lew is a contributor for the following Storey Books Title: Mindful Moments for Stressful Days

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Mind Full and Mind Empty

All of the world's great religions address the idea of mindfulness or contemplative living. In recent decades, in light of the rise of technology, violence, and commercialism in this country, Buddhist teachings on mindfulness have become increasingly popular. Simply put, mindfulness is the state of being fully engaged in the present moment. It is the art of paying loving attention to all that you experience. But at ?rst glance the term mindfulness seems to be a study in contradictions. In any mindfulness practice the ?rst lesson is to empty your mind. So why don't we call it mind-emptiness instead? For one thing, you ?rst need to empty your mind in order to re?ll it consciously. We meditate to empty our minds. Then we develop the skill of intention to direct our minds positively.

There is a Zen saying, "A cup is useful in its emptiness." In other words, before we can ?ll a cup with the liquid of our choice, it must be empty. A cup, of course, is also useful in its fullness - but only if it's ?lled with what you need and want. In this respect, your mind is no di?erent. Is your mind ?lled with thoughts and feelings of your own choosing? Or is it cluttered with unexamined responses to past events? Chances are you don't even know half of what is stored in there. And yet the thoughts in your mind rule how you act, how you feel, and how you see the world.

To live mindfully is to be conscious of your thoughts and feelings. It is to live in harmony with your deep inner wisdom and natural state of compassion, forging rich connections to the world around you. To be mindful means to be thoughtful in the truest sense of the word.

Nothing Doing

When was the last time someone praised you for doing nothing? We associate doing nothing with a host of negative judgments, believing it is pure laziness to sit around and be idle. "Stop daydreaming," our teachers and parents often admonished. To simply sit on the porch and pass half the day, as Thoreau reported doing in Walden, is considered a waste of time.

Yet there is value in being still. The ancient Greeks thought so. They considered doing nothing the path to wisdom and the highest good. Give yourself permission to do nothing. In fact, give yourself praise. Buy a package of gold star stickers like the ones your teachers used to hand out in school for perfect penmanship. Put one on your calendar or in your planner for every day you take time to do nothing.

Magnify the Good

When you think a thought, you release it into the universe. It gathers energy and returns to you in some way. If you are always sending out complaints and judgments about lack and misery you'll see these things return to you. In spiritual terms, a thought is a form of prayer: You send your hopes, wishes, and expectations to the force or being you think of as good, generous, and capable of answering your deepest questions.

Psychologists con?rm that thoughts have the power to in?uence experience. The "Expectancy Theory" holds that your thoughts in?uence your behavior, and your behavior tells people how they should treat you. Their behavior in turn con?rms your thoughts about yourself and the world. Try sending out positive thoughts. Focus your mind on gratitude; concentrate on appreciating beauty, small gifts, and everyday treasures, such as having food available at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Such thoughts gather energy and return to you, increasing the love, joy, and peace in your life.

Practice Perfect Acceptance

You don't need anything else to happen in order to be complete. There is nothing to fear and nothing to want in this moment. Accept this moment as it is. Sure, there is plenty that is wrong, unjust, and unfair in the world. You can practice perfect acceptance and still take action against wrongdoing; you can work to improve unfair systems whether they are at home or in the world at large. The challenges are on the path, but you step into them one perfect moment at a time.

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