In many of the practices we embrace at Omaha Integrative Care there is a delicate balance between will and surrender, between change and acceptance. The complementary therapies show us that by changing our behaviors, the way we think and even the way we eat can have profound impacts on our emotional and physical health. Yet, at the same time, there are many things we cannot control. We cannot change our genetic makeup, our families, our boss or the weather. And it some situations we cannot change the pain or the discomfort we are experiencing.
Mindfulness teaches us how to be present with pain and discomfort and to not resist the experience even when we really want to check out. Ironically, the more we resist, the more suffering we experience. Carl Jung said what we resist, persists. The more we try to avoid something the more we struggle and the longer it lasts. It as at these times we can practice surrender.
One way to practice mindful surrender is to use a buddhist practice called Tonglen. In Tonglen, you notice your own suffering and instead of resisting it or numbing out you breathe it in. Take 3 deep breaths for yourself and all the others who are also suffering in a similar way. As you breathe out, feel the compassion for yourself and those around the world who may be experincing something akin to what you are feeling. Allow that compassion to wash over the experience of the discomfort, breathe it in and out.
Mindful moments are short practices to be used throughout your week to relax, integrate and center yourself. Inspired by the wisdom traditions and science, mindful moments are meant to be accessible and simple enough for anyone to practice. Many teachers and leaders in integrative medicine have influenced our approach to mindful moments. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Pema Chodron would say it is “practicing in the gaps.” Look for the weekly mindful moment every Monday. May it support you in finding your center to live life to the fullest.