Practice is Essential
Some people will have diligently followed the 15 Day Introductory Course, some will have been less committed. Such is human nature.
Some people will have ‘taken to’ mindfulness easily. For others it’s more difficult.
If you are among the latter then the only way is to keep trying. It’s a skill you are trying to develop and it is one that only comes with following a plan – the course – and practice.
A question I’m only occasionally asked about this course is ‘How much should you practice?’ That’s good because it suggests to me that people monitor this for themselves based on results.
A much more common question is ‘Which is the most important part of the course?’ This is a difficult one because the course is designed as a progression and each step is important. So someone new to mindfulness should follow it in order and take each part as essential.
But, if I’m pushed, I will point to one element that I think is particularly important. It is not because it is objectively more important than others, but because it is so important for someone new to mindfulness to practice it repeatedly.
The one I’m referring to is Day 5: Awareness of Routines.
Why that one?
This appears at an early stage of the course and seems rather informal at first. Its focus seems almost banal.
However, notice how important it becomes later in the course? This importance arises because the exercise it involves is not structured as taking time out of your day to ‘do some mindfulness’. More formal meditations can sometimes seem like this.
But this is a false notion. Mindfulness is how you go about your day, It must be fully integrated into what you do and how you do it.
That’s what is so important about this element. But this will not arise and mindfulness will not become your way of life unless you practice this mediation.
If you have found that the various more formal meditations were pleasant or useful but you are finding that the feelings that arise when listening to them do not last into the rest of your day then I recommend you go back to the exercise on Day 5. Follow it as much as you can during the day. Make it part of your day.
Then concentrate on Day 12 and then the exercises on Days 13 to 15.