My Experience Of Mindfulness

In Situations Of Imposed Change

Where I Learned The Truth That: "This Too Will Pass"


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My experience of mindfulness in a situation of imposed change is illustrated by the story about a king who sought wisdom.

He searched all over his kingdom for wisdom and did not find it.

Eventually he heard of a man living in a remote part of the kingdom who had a reputation for great wisdom and the king summoned the wiseman to counsel him...





    The wise man counselled the king: "Regardless of whether you are experiencing good fortune or adversity remind yourself that this too will pass…."




My experience of mindfulness where I learned the truth that: "This too will pass"

Approximately 20 years ago I was in a senior management position working on a large multi-million dollar IT programme in London. You can read the full story and lessons learned here:

This Too Shall Pass - The Blessing And The Curse Of Impermanence




Troubled by negative thoughts

Some years later and my fortunes had changed and I was not working and experiencing a very hard time financially with all the obvious pressures associated with that. I became exhausted and completely run down. I found it hard to control my thoughts.

I would often wake up in the early hours of the morning with extremely negative thoughts.

There was a voice (well several actually) that used to start up and accuse me of failing and being hopeless and unemployable. Because it was late and I was so exhausted I was in the grip of these voices and could hardly sleep.

By morning I was exhausted. And so the cycle repeated itself for a number of days.

I realise that I had to do something – fast or I was going to be ill or worse…

Thankfully I was now aware of mindfulness practise and doing it fairly regularly and I knew what to do – I just needed to do more of it and I especially needed to find a strategy that I could use more or less automatically in the early hours of the morning.

I devised 3 techniques which I have shared below.




My experience of mindfulness with intense present moment awareness using a simple mantra

I realised that to cope with my problems at night I needed something very simple that I could use in a semi –conscious state.

This practise came to me one day when I was meditating and it came in response to a request for help I made to my higher self.

What came to me was a simple phrase that had meaning for me at the time, was easy to remember and repeat over and over again. Because the phrase had meaning and energetic power for me it meant that I could really feel the emotional and spiritual power in those words.

The phrase was:

"I choose the light – I walk in the light"

I used this mantra every night as I was falling asleep – and constantly if I woke up in the night. I used to wake up every morning with that mantra going round and around in my head.

The point of it was that it stopped my native thoughts, in fact it stopped all thinking because it gave my thinking mind something to do which shut it up. So I was able to stay mindful, present and completely relaxed.

From the moment I started doing this I never had another bad night’s sleep. After a few weeks, as with other practices shared below and elsewhere on this site, it became automatic and a habit.

As a final reflection on this experience, I have also used this approach a number of times since in situations where I have wanted to impress some particular positive and empowering thoughts on my subconscious mind.

The words can be whatever we want them to be. I have found that it helps to choose words that are easy to remember and repeat, and also that have energetic power and meaning to me at that time.

I have also expanded on this with the use of a graphic image that illustrates the truth of the words in the mantra and I have put that picture on my laptop as a screen saver and framed it and hung it in a prominent position on the wall in my kitchen.




My experience of mindfulness with deep acceptance

During waking hours whenever it all got too much to bear, I would go outside and find a seat somewhere that I knew I wouldn’t get distracted by anyone and I practised a deep acceptance exercise:

  • Check-in internally – what am I feeling now? (Do it very quickly and no thinking about it – we do not want the mind involved!)

  • Go with the FIRST feeling that comes up

  • Say out loud (or loudly in your head “I accept that I am feeling angry / frightened /fearful /anxious / resentful / etc

  • Say it over and over again several times like a mantra

  • SAY IT WITH MAXIMUM INTENSITY AND FOCUS

  • Check-in again internally - what am I feeling now?

  • Go with the FIRST feeling that comes up

  • Say out loud (or loudly in your head “I accept that I am feeling angry / frightened /fearful /anxious / resentful etc

  • Say it over and over again several times like a mantra

Amazingly, after a number of iterations of this process, I find that the answer to the "what am I feeling now?" question is peace and a deep inner sense of calm.

I have used this process many times and it always works.

What this exercise does is to cause you to accept whatever is in your thinking mind. This stops you identifying with your thinking mind and your focus automatically shifts to your observing mind.

Mark Manson has written an excellent short article which explains the background to the deep acceptance technique and why it works.

Further Reading: The Transformative Power Of Acceptance




My experience of mindfulness with intense present moment awareness using NLP

I am terrified of heights. There is a large and quite long suspension bridge over a mile wide estuary near where I live.

There are 2 thin support cables fixed on supporting struts mounted on top of the suspension cables. These are designed for workmen – wearing harnesses – to clip themselves on to the support cables as they walk up and on top of the main suspension cables that rise from about 300 feet above sea level to about 800 feet above sea level.

I know that if I had to – in an emergency, I could walk that cable – just. Even writing about it is bringing me out in a cold sweat!

So I did an exercise whereby I walked the length of the suspension cables – but on the bridge. However, in my mind and imagination I did every step for real. I could feel the wind, see the drop below and feel the overwhelming panic and terror. I visualised and experienced in my senses every aspect of that walk, as though it was for real.

The only way I could ever make a walk like that in reality is with massive and intense present moment awareness. Walking very slowly, breathing deeply and steadily with a total focus on the action of each slow step.

And in I my imaginary walk up the cable – as in reality I walked under it along the bridge - I anchored the intense feelings of present moment awareness as I coped with “walking” that cable.

After having completed this exercise and having anchored the feelings and states I was able to replay that experience at will and on demand.

Over a period of several hard weeks I “walked that cable” many, many times and each time I was brought into a deep and powerful sense of present moment awareness that would last for quite a while.

After a number of repetitions of this exercise, it became automatic and I dropped the visualisation and was just able to enter a deep state of present moment awareness fairly easily (and I still can).




Next Article: Tips On Mindfulness Practise

Return to: How To Practise Mindfulness

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