Mindfulness is something we co-learn, through sharing and listening. We start believing a calmer, softer, happier life is possible only when we see it in others. Or when we start displaying this calmness, softness, happiness, and someone sees our change and points at it with excitement. “Hey!” they say. “I see you. You would have responded differently in the past. But this time you are more open and relaxed / loving and kind / you are enjoying life more.”
We co-learn it because mindfulness doesn't belong to anyone. There is no MY or YOUR mindfulness. There is only THE mindfulness. The awareness and compassion we all get to have, lose, find, lose, and find again. The awareness and compassion we all get to remind each other about. The awareness and compassion we create and exist in together.
In this sense, there is no "mindfulness teacher" and "mindfulness student" either. There are only guides. Guides who know how to hold space for others or guides who have ideas about finding it when it is lost.
I know this because as a teacher, I find teachers in my students all the time. Just like I did in Mariana. 🤗
Mariana is a long-time practitioner of mindfulness who participated in my 7 week Introduction to Mindfulness course at the end of last year. In a short video interview, she shared some nuggets of wisdom with her bubbly and loving energy.
What I treasured from her sharing was:
- Her "desire to dive within" and accept & nurture all parts of herself, including the parts she doesn't love,
- Her practice of giving herself a big hug, giving thanks, letting it go, let it be,
- How different teachers and traditions (Goenka) came to her over time,
- How attending a 7-week course allowed mindfulness to spill into all corners of her life,
- Her intuitive approach to her meditation practice: letting it arise on its own (“It’s meditation time!"). ❤️
This last point is something I am asked all the time: “What is the best time of day to meditate?” To the dissatisfaction of some students, I always answer with “That depends on YOU!” 😃
There are a few important things to know about building sustainable habits, as Charles Duhigg explains in his wonderful book The Power of Habit. For example, willpower is a limited resource. We start the day with a lot of it and run out of it toward the end of the day. In this sense, meditating earlier in the day might increase your chances of actually getting to do it. Another example is that new habits are sustained more successfully when coupled with already existing habits, such as meditating right after you brush your teeth in the morning or right before you leave the office at the end of the day.
But aside from knowing how habits work, when you meditate is entirely up to you, your schedule, your circadian rhythm, your needs and desires. In fact, if you ask me, the only “good” time to meditate is simply NOW.
I hope you enjoy Mariana’s words & energy, and I hope you give yourself a big hug when she does so right at 3:43! 🙆