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Assume Less, Ask More

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, I'm going to talk about the importance of assuming less and asking more. I'm going to start off with a story. Johnny was on his way to school. He was worried about the maths lesson.

He wasn't sure he could control the class again today. It was not part of a janitors duty. So, what did you notice happening in your mind as I spoke those sentences in that story? Most people find that they repeatedly update their view of what's happening in their mind's eye. Of course, first they assume Johnny is a young student, then a teacher, and then the vision moves into him being a janitor. So this story is often used to illustrate how our mind is continuously working behind the scenes of our lives to build a picture of reality of what's going on.

So, because the mind does this so quickly, we rarely, if ever, experience life as it is. But instead we experience it through inferences we make based on the data that we're given in any moment. The mind elaborates on the data. Attaching stories to it, making assumptions based on past experience, and also in order to anticipate what this is likely going to mean in the future. As a result events experienced in the mind's eye can end up differing massively from one person to another, and from objective reality.

On any given day, we are constantly making guesses and assumptions and predictions about the world, about other people, and we're barely even conscious of it. But these assumptions are often not accurate. And can also lead to a lot of misunderstanding, conflict and suffering, as most of us have experienced at one point or another. The Johnny story points to a simple lesson about assumptions. We often get things wrong.

So here are, two steps to help you let go of assumption so you can find more mental clarity and connection. The first thing is simple. Question your assumptions, especially in times when you're feeling negativity, resentment, or irritation towards someone. Simply ask yourself if you might've made an assumption or jumped to a conclusion. This is surprisingly powerful.

Experiment, instead with being more curious and open-minded and equanimous, especially in times when you feel hurt or triggered. Now, secondly, instead of making assumptions, experiment with asking questions to others, instead. Try using statements, I statements like: did you know that I was already waiting here in line when you jumped in front? I wasn't really sure. Or you could also make requests to people. Would you please do this or that? So in this case you might say, would you mind lining up behind the others who were here before you? So by asking questions and making requests, we increase clarity and connection while reducing potential conflict and misunderstanding.

So the invitation for you today and ongoing is to see if you can let go a little of this tendency to jump to conclusions and make assumptions, and instead open up to more curiosity and connection. As always thank you for your practice and your presence here. And now let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.7

Assume Less, Ask More

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, I'm going to talk about the importance of assuming less and asking more. I'm going to start off with a story. Johnny was on his way to school. He was worried about the maths lesson.

He wasn't sure he could control the class again today. It was not part of a janitors duty. So, what did you notice happening in your mind as I spoke those sentences in that story? Most people find that they repeatedly update their view of what's happening in their mind's eye. Of course, first they assume Johnny is a young student, then a teacher, and then the vision moves into him being a janitor. So this story is often used to illustrate how our mind is continuously working behind the scenes of our lives to build a picture of reality of what's going on.

So, because the mind does this so quickly, we rarely, if ever, experience life as it is. But instead we experience it through inferences we make based on the data that we're given in any moment. The mind elaborates on the data. Attaching stories to it, making assumptions based on past experience, and also in order to anticipate what this is likely going to mean in the future. As a result events experienced in the mind's eye can end up differing massively from one person to another, and from objective reality.

On any given day, we are constantly making guesses and assumptions and predictions about the world, about other people, and we're barely even conscious of it. But these assumptions are often not accurate. And can also lead to a lot of misunderstanding, conflict and suffering, as most of us have experienced at one point or another. The Johnny story points to a simple lesson about assumptions. We often get things wrong.

So here are, two steps to help you let go of assumption so you can find more mental clarity and connection. The first thing is simple. Question your assumptions, especially in times when you're feeling negativity, resentment, or irritation towards someone. Simply ask yourself if you might've made an assumption or jumped to a conclusion. This is surprisingly powerful.

Experiment, instead with being more curious and open-minded and equanimous, especially in times when you feel hurt or triggered. Now, secondly, instead of making assumptions, experiment with asking questions to others, instead. Try using statements, I statements like: did you know that I was already waiting here in line when you jumped in front? I wasn't really sure. Or you could also make requests to people. Would you please do this or that? So in this case you might say, would you mind lining up behind the others who were here before you? So by asking questions and making requests, we increase clarity and connection while reducing potential conflict and misunderstanding.

So the invitation for you today and ongoing is to see if you can let go a little of this tendency to jump to conclusions and make assumptions, and instead open up to more curiosity and connection. As always thank you for your practice and your presence here. And now let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.7

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