An interview with Carol Dweck
Mindfulness and Mindset
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mindfulness and mindset
with Carol Dweck
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How did you find the new mindfulness of thoughts practice?
It can be a little confusing initially to work out where exactly you’re supposed to focus your attention.
As you continue with this practice over the week, be aware of the difference in how it feels when you are observing your thoughts rather than absorbed in your thoughts.
You will know when you’re absorbed in the thought stream rather than observing the thoughts, because you will have completely forgotten and lost touch with the fact that you are meditating.
A helpful metaphor for this is watching a movie. When watching a movie we can watch the movie, knowing it is a movie, but if it’s a movie with a lot of drama and emotion we usually get pulled into the story and forget that we are actually sitting in a cinema watching a movie. It all seems so real.
In the mindfulness of thoughts meditation, we watch the mind as if it was a movie, aware that we are watching the “movie of the mind” rather than lost in the story. In this way thoughts start to have less impact on our emotional state. We start to appreciate that thoughts are just thoughts. Mental events, that come and go in the space of the mind.
In the mindfulness of thought practice we “SEE the thought, rather than BE the thought”. Through the process of observation, thoughts start to be experienced for what they really are, just thoughts, rather than reality or the truth of the matter.
So often our thoughts can be an exaggeration or catastrophisation of the situation we are in. Our thoughts can project us into the worst possible outcome and create realities in our head that are not true which create unnecessary suffering and worry.
As we develop this skill of bringing mindfulness to our thought stream, slowly we start to be free from the turbulence of the mind and it’s impact on our emotional state.
In this process of observing thoughts you will discover that some thoughts are easy to observe, while others have a more “sticky” quality and tend to pull you into their story.
Here is a helpful technique to help you come back to simply observing thoughts and let the thought go when you have been hijacked by a particularly “sticky” one.
When a thought arises in the mind and has totally taken you hostage, there will be a moment when you realise you’ve gotten lost in thinking.
When you recognise you’re lost, quietly say to yourself
“I AM HAVING THE THOUGHT THAT…[INSERT THOUGHT HERE]”.
This is an effective way to reduce the power that thoughts have over you, and remind you that you are not your thoughts.
Thoughts can be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. In meditation, we are less concerned with the content of the thoughts and more interested in the process of thinking and our relationship to our thoughts. While we meditate the aim is to try not to become drawn in by them no matter how interesting they seem.
stay on track
Mark off your daily meditation here