How many tools do you have in there? I imagine more than one.
At a minimum, you have a hammer.
But you most likely have a measuring tape, some nails, some level accessories to make sure your picture frames aren’t lopsided. Most recently I bought a drill (grown-up purchases). All to say that you can’t have a handy toolbox with one tool. It’s not very handy.
And so, I wonder, how handy is it if you just have one mindful tool?
Many of the articles I read like this one and this one, point out the fact the ‘mindfulness’ is the one you need for success. And while I 100% agree, in my opinion, we’re leaving people high and dry.
How helpful is one tool in the toolbox? Not very helpful.
How helpful is it to have one mindful tool? I don’t know but let me keep sharing with you.
I’m not saying that you need to dabble in all the practices. For about 5 years I was a “meditation dabbler.” I would follow a guided meditation and then it would fall off. I would download an app and then forget about it. I would do it on my own but wouldn’t stay very long.
It wasn’t until I became very consistent with one meditation style that I was able to create a real habit. But even while I was dabbling in a sitting down meditation, I was still doing other mindful practices.
The reason I’m continually harping on ‘mindful practices’ and not just ‘mindfulness’ is because it takes more than one practice to find (INSERT DESIRED RESULTS i.e. productivity, clarity, success, self-love, steadfastness, ease, grace, groundedness).
And so I want to share with you 5 mindful tools that you may not associate with productivity or even thought we’re mindful.
1. Mantra Meditation to Achieve Your Goals
Goals. I know, I kinda hate the word too but having crystal clear goals is so important in all aspects of your life (personal, professional, spiritual).
Even further, studies show that people who write down their goals are more self-confident and motivated. Psychologist Gail Matthews showed when people wrote down their goals, they were 33% more successful in achieving them than those who formulated outcomes in their heads (write those goals down!!).
Goals. Oals. Oals. Oals. Ls. Ls. Ls. (In my head that sounds like the Rihanna’s Umbrella Song)
And so how does Mantra Meditation help achieve your goals?
I’m not going to suggest you repeat to yourself “I am successful” or “I am clarity.”
While there is a time and place for that style of mantra, mantra meditation in the Vedic style of meditation is practiced with a bija seed mantra.
Side note: In the Sanskrit alphabet each letter is a sound. And sound embodies a quality. Qualities can be something like “strength” “mother” “infinite.” It’s not a direct translation but the sound holds that quality. Bija seed mantras are often one sound or a string of them. I imagine that that’s actually how the mantras like “I am beautiful” came about. People started to translate them and use them in English.
When you practice with a bjia seed mantra in your sitting down meditation, you repeat this sound over and over again but very effortlessly. Like, ‘no big deal just sitting here repeating this.’
Alpha brain waves
As you’re doing this, what’s happening in your brain is you’re getting into your alpha brain waves. Alpha waves are the ones that occur when you’re not focusing too hard on anything in particular. These waves measure between 8 and 12 Hz and you’re probably very relaxed and calm in this state. Alpha waves are seen as the gateway to your subconscious mind.
Your subconscious mind is where behavior is set.
There’s a quote in the Zen-world (origin unknown) that says,
“How you do anything is how you do everything”
How you do this mantra meditation + how you wake up your alpha brain waves + how you enter your subconscious mind is how you set your goals.
How you set your goals (and write them down!) is how you find success.
If you’re looking to receive a specific bija see mantra or more commonly known Vedic Meditation check out James Brown and Yashoda Devi Ma.
My mind is constantly all over the place. My human-design type is a Manifestor which makes sense that I have various business ideas (from teaching, to coaching, to marketing). But my love for multi-tasking is not helpful. At all.
This is often overlooked mindful practice. Who would’ve thought back in the day those ‘Lisa Frank’ journals were the way to success 🤪
Mindful Journaling, to me, is a way to reflect, purge your mind of agitation or ruminating thoughts. When you want to create that impact in the world, or launch a new product, or write a bunch of content for your business your mind might be too full.
If your mind is too full and busy and what’s repeating is fear, doubt, or rumination then how will anything “come through?”
Look into bullet-journaling. One of my favorite ways to keep a journal and still create space for purging your mind.
4. Practice: Pratipaksha Bhavanam
I know, it’s in Sanskrit. But I would be doing the practice a disservice if I didn’t introduce it this way.
After falling in love with the yoga poses, this is actually the next practice I fell in love with in yoga. Back when I was a baby-yoga-teacher in training, I had no idea these types of practices were part of yoga. And when I could finally put a name to how I wanted to live my life, I was even MORE grateful for this practice. I even got this tattooed along my spine.
So what is it already?!
The practice of pratipaksha bhavanam says that when you have a negative thought counter it with a positive thought.
Easier said than done. I know from experience. It takes skill. Practice. Steadfastness. Basically, everything we’ve been talking about above. At times, positive thoughts can also feel contrived or phony. But that’s the ‘medicine’ were looking for. To carve new and positive pathways in your mind.
Even as I read the word above, I can’t help but take a big breath.
So, you too. Take a big breath in, and open mouth exhale.
Every moment of our life we are breathing, we often forget that when you consciously bring your attention to it, that’s a mindful practice. And a very powerful one for that matter. The ancient yogis knew this for centuries, and science is now reassuring us with data. Studies are showing that breathing can be used as a primary treatment for anxiety for certain populations (um…wow!).
The styles of breath are also endless!
Just to give you an idea there are nostrils breathing (double, single or alternate), abdominal breathing, forceful breathing, suspended style of breathing, chanting breathing.
Start breathing bigger! Fuller! More expansive!
One tool or more?
If you’re new to these practices try out one for a while and be very consistent with it. And then layer on another one.
Like a handy toolkit, you don’t want to learn how to use all of them at the same time. You might end up with one too many holes in your wall to fix.
Take your time with each applying them and learning from each practice. Each one has its purpose and gift.
I’ll leave the verdict up to you. Is one mindful practice helpful? Or is more than one needed?