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Empathy works. It always does.

Something is wrong with mindfulness

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I am absolutely sure. It is idiotic to sit on a meditation cushion, bring my awareness to my breath, while I should do something to stop IS from abducting Yezidi women and selling them as sex slaves or using them as cannon flesh. Or at least spend my meditation time to increase my income. Or if not that, to clean the house.

Sitting on a cushion doesn’t help anyway. I still have moments of overwhelming doubt, fear, loneliness, jealousy, anger, even rage. I yell and lose my temper maybe even more than before.

How mindful is that?

I pause.

I breathe in. All the self-doubt and self-criticism. I breathe out. Love, light, and relief. “May I be peaceful, happy, and light in body and spirit.”

I think of all the other men and women who doubt whether their path makes sense. If they’re making a difference. I breathe in all their self-doubt and self-criticism. I breathe out to them love, light, and relief.

I feel calmer now.

Mindfulness is not about achieving a goal. Mindfulness is not about changing what you feel, what you think. Mindfulness is about being present with all that arises within you. Mindfulness is strengthening the compassion muscle, and accepting your experience with a little bit more acceptance each time you breathe in. Mindfulness is the willingness to engage all aspects of yourself, even those you don’t like. Mindfulness is the practice to open up to yourself more fully, and by doing so to embrace life more fully.

And as any practice, there are setbacks, plateaus, disillusions, frustrations. That’s fine. Because, as with any practice, the practice itself is the goal and the goal is to practice. No achieving, no changing. Just practicing. And no one can fail at that.

Maybe mindfulness isn’t such a bad idea after all.


Do you want help to practice mindfulness? Contact me 512-589-0482 for a free discovery session to see if and how I can help you.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping compassionate professionals integrate self-care in their lives. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

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