THEME: You are what you think. Makes sense, mostly. Now, the question becomes where do all of our thoughts come from and what do we do with them. Today, we are going to investigate how messages from the internal and external world affect our experience.
CHECK-IN: Of all of the thoughts you have, how does this one usually arise? “I need ____ .” What is the source? How does it feel?
MINDFUL PRACTICE: Get comfortable. Take a few large breaths - pausing between the inhale and exhale. Then allow your breathing to move naturally. Notice how you are feeling. Loosen any tension or discomfort.
Check in with all parts of your body intentionally. Notice any other sensations: sounds, tastes, smells, physical feelings. You are here. The time is only now.
Settle into the breath using an anchor if needed (hand on chest or stomach, counting, etc.)
(After 5 - 10 mins depending on group)
SHARE: How was that? What came up?
JOURNAL: Rev Angel Kyodo Williams described the mind as “that messy junk drawer we all have.” Can’t you just picture that drawer? Does that describe how your mind sometimes feels?
In your journal/paper, draw a large box to represent your junk drawer.
On a typical day, what themes run through your mind? (group share)
In a rapid-fire manner, write in your box things you might say to yourself or things you believe based on what others say. Don't judge them or edit them - just list what comes up and put them in your inner drawer. Write words or short phrases to allow space.
How many messages are negative vs positive? Have you heard of the negativity bias? Science has proven we hold onto negative thoughts like Velcro and allow positive thoughts to slide off like Teflon (the reptilian brain).
What is the source of each thought? Are they based on experience or something else? Are they true for you, really? Did you acquire them from somebody else?
You have everything you need for happiness. It's not what you go through in life, but how. Are any of your messages causing you suffering? Can you replace any with your own truth?
Is one theme dominating your mind? How can you find more balance in the ratio?
Just because you think it, does not mean it's true. Can you cultivate more self-love and compassion by intentionally changing some of these messages?
SHARE: Select one message you want to change. Say the original message out loud. Then, state the new message you plan to replace it with.
CLOSING: Practice replacing messages this month that no longer serve you with ones that put you on the path you belong.
Tara Brach gives a compelling talk on Seeing the Truth of Who We Are, DharmaSeed.org.
Mindfulness (Presence) is important for healthy communication. Listen to a fantastic talk by Oren Jay Sofer: The Role of Presence in Communication, DharmaSeed.org.