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Calming Reactivity, Acting Intentionally

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 how we can learn to calm reactivity so that we can act more intentionally. So when we practice mindfulness and we begin to really watch the mind, we start to see how the mind can be really jumpy, really reactive. Often we're there, and we're focusing on the breath and then all of a sudden, an unpleasant feeling arises and the mind immediately starts to push it away or fight against it. And then we might come back to the breath for a while and then maybe a pleasant thought comes up, maybe about planning a vacation or something like that.

And we chase the thought, we get lost in the thought. Then we realize what's happening. We come back to the breath. And then maybe a memory arises about someone who let us down. We immediately start to going to a mental narrative about how wrong they are.

Anger starts to build. And then we catch ourselves and we come back to the breath. And so on. Now, as we watch the mind, we can really start to see that a lot of what it does has an almost automated kind of feeling to it. It's very reactive.

So an unpleasant emotion arises, and we have a knee-jerk response of resistance. A pleasant thought arises, we have a knee-jerk response to chase it. An impulse arises, and we act on it. A judgment arises, and we buy into it and we react to that. So we really start to see that a lot of the time, we're not really consciously choosing a response, the mind just kind of does what it does.

It reacts. But as we continue to practice mindfulness, what we see is that we open up more and more inner space. So we learn to step back from thoughts, emotions, and impulses and observe them. So what we're really doing here is we're really kind of unhooking ourselves from the thought and the emotion and learning to meet it with awareness. Now, when we're meeting it with awareness, we don't have to react immediately.

We can pause in that space of awareness and then choose a more skillful response instead. So we don't have to always be at the mercy of all the mind's knee-jerk reactions, whether it's to a feeling, a thought, an impulse or a difficult situation in our lives. So the more we develop this capacity for mindfulness, the more we open up that inner space, the more we actually have the ability to respond to life instead. And of course, what we develop in meditation really relates to every part of daily life. Whereas before we might've spent so much time in reactive mode, chasing this, acting on that, resisting this, judging that, now we've become less reactive and more grounded in presence and able to respond instead.

Therefore, we're able to make more wise choices, the ones that move us away from suffering and lead towards us living a happier, more loving and more meaningful life. So as always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us. And let's now settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.9

Calming Reactivity, Acting Intentionally

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 how we can learn to calm reactivity so that we can act more intentionally. So when we practice mindfulness and we begin to really watch the mind, we start to see how the mind can be really jumpy, really reactive. Often we're there, and we're focusing on the breath and then all of a sudden, an unpleasant feeling arises and the mind immediately starts to push it away or fight against it. And then we might come back to the breath for a while and then maybe a pleasant thought comes up, maybe about planning a vacation or something like that.

And we chase the thought, we get lost in the thought. Then we realize what's happening. We come back to the breath. And then maybe a memory arises about someone who let us down. We immediately start to going to a mental narrative about how wrong they are.

Anger starts to build. And then we catch ourselves and we come back to the breath. And so on. Now, as we watch the mind, we can really start to see that a lot of what it does has an almost automated kind of feeling to it. It's very reactive.

So an unpleasant emotion arises, and we have a knee-jerk response of resistance. A pleasant thought arises, we have a knee-jerk response to chase it. An impulse arises, and we act on it. A judgment arises, and we buy into it and we react to that. So we really start to see that a lot of the time, we're not really consciously choosing a response, the mind just kind of does what it does.

It reacts. But as we continue to practice mindfulness, what we see is that we open up more and more inner space. So we learn to step back from thoughts, emotions, and impulses and observe them. So what we're really doing here is we're really kind of unhooking ourselves from the thought and the emotion and learning to meet it with awareness. Now, when we're meeting it with awareness, we don't have to react immediately.

We can pause in that space of awareness and then choose a more skillful response instead. So we don't have to always be at the mercy of all the mind's knee-jerk reactions, whether it's to a feeling, a thought, an impulse or a difficult situation in our lives. So the more we develop this capacity for mindfulness, the more we open up that inner space, the more we actually have the ability to respond to life instead. And of course, what we develop in meditation really relates to every part of daily life. Whereas before we might've spent so much time in reactive mode, chasing this, acting on that, resisting this, judging that, now we've become less reactive and more grounded in presence and able to respond instead.

Therefore, we're able to make more wise choices, the ones that move us away from suffering and lead towards us living a happier, more loving and more meaningful life. So as always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us. And let's now settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.9

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