MINDFULNESS FOR PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION

When you observe your experiences without judgement or expectations you are practicing Mindfulness. You are open and receptive with an expanded awareness. Mindfulness also brings protection from suffering and has the power to bring balance, perspective and freedom to your life.

If you are unaware of what is unseen in your experience you will respond out of habit and suffer. Yes, there is danger and there is pain. This is a part of life and what we call, “The Human Experience.

To live is to experience hurt and pain. On the other hand, at most suffering stems from ignorance. You can accept this as fact and a part of life and live with a sense of happiness and freedom or reject it and suffer.

You can learn to trust this practice of mindfulness as you enter the difficulties of your day. There are four principles of mindfulness if used have the ability totransform your personal experiences.

The first principle of Mindfulness is, (1) Recognize what you are experiencing , (2) Accept what is happening (3) Conduct an investigation into where you are feeling discomfort in your body and what your thoughts are around the experience.  (4) Do not identify with what is happening.

You will use these principles any time you want to investigate the root cause of your pain or suffering that you want to transform. You will investigate the way your body responds, the feelings you are having, and your thoughts around the environment that brings on the experience.

We are so accustomed to running on autopilot. Moreover, at any time you can observe your actions to determine if you are responding out of habit and whether your response brings you closer to obtaining your goals and values.

At this current moment, I am writing on my computer. My mind is engaged in the action. As my fingers strike the keys my eyes see the words appear on the page. I am in a classroom with about fifteen students. Some are finishing their math assignment while others work on a computer program.

One student walks up to me and asks, “What is the answer to this problem?” I tell her how to figure it out, but not the answer. I am fully conscious of my breath as it comes in and goes out my nostrils.

I am at ease in this environment. I have been here many times before. I wear a jacket, even though the temperature is quite mild. It was colder earlier in the day. I knew to bring a jacket because the classroom temperature changes throughout the day.

My job as a substitute is an adventure. Some days I do not know what to expect, oftentimes I do. It is the nature of my occupation to be in this environment with children and be the authority figure.

Some children reject this title and tell me I am just a substitute. I am not sure how they see me. Just lately, I have begun to tell students, Substitute does not define me. It is a label and I am much more than a sub. I tell them I have been teaching longer than they have been alive.

I want them to see me as a person first, and not use a label to define me and treat me in a way that is demeaning. I want them to know that a label places people in boxes they may not wish to be in.

I have taught in Pinellas County Public Schools for about seven years. Most children I have taught before. They know who I am and have been in class with me and know what to expect.

They often asked me if I have been to their school. Some students are helpful and quite pleasant. After twenty years, I am comfortable with the diverse background of children I am in class with. I tell them what my expectations are and how we are going to make it through the day.

I am mindfully aware that I come to the classroom environment with expectations of how I want the children to behave and treat me. Some children remark and say, I am mean. I question their judgement, am I?

I have little patience for disrespect and loud and obnoxious behavior. I am learning to go in the classroom with the intention of opening and embracing all children from diverse backgrounds and to leave my expectations out side of the classroom.

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