Banner Viadrina

Mindful Monday - Start Your Week Mindfully With The Central Student Advisory Service

The 2018/19 winter term has started and so has our new mindfulness blog, brought to you by the Central Student Advisory Service. Every Monday we post a mindfulness impulse for the new week. To try, to meditate, to share. Enjoy our new "Mindful Monday" Blog!

Need more mindfulness? Come to our open meditation group!

November 2018

12 November 2018
Mindfulness Impulse #5: Mindfulness and Judgements
"Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing there is a field. I will meet you there."
- Rumi -

We often carry an "inner measuring stick" around with us, which we use to compare our current experience and our actions to an ideal: "This is the right way." "This is the wrong way." "That was good." "That was not enough." In a lot of situations this measuring stick is useful. Without it we would have no successes to celebrate, we could not improve and our learning would be confused and disoriented. But we also need spaces in which right and wrong do not matter, in which we can simply be who we are. Otherwise, our lives become constricted and all too demanding.

It is surprisingly difficult not to judge our experience. Quickly we start judging our judgements. We might even start to judge the fact that we are judging our judgements. At this point our head is probably spinning and our brain starts to hurt. Instead of getting caught up in this spiral we could notice our automatic judgements when they arise and return - again and again - to what we perceive through our senses, to our direct experience.

What helps you let go of judgements? Which spaces in your life are nearly or entirely free of judgements? Where is your field "out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing"? And are there people you would like to meet there? What could that look like?

20181009_143007_resized ©Marvin Süß

05 November 2018
Mindfulness Impulse #4: Mindfulness Anchor
"80 percent of succes is just showing up."
- Woody Allen -

With everything else that is going on in life, it can be a big hurdle to more mindfulness simply to forget the intention to be mindful. The more frequently we remember our intention to practise mindfulness, the more opportunities for mindfulness we will have and the more mindful moments we will experience. How can we remember to "show up" for mindfulness in our everyday life?

One way to be reminded of mindfulness regularly is a "mindfulness anchor", e.g. red traffic lights. Every time you wait at red lights this week, you could deliberately feel your body: What position is it in? What can you notice? Tension or relaxation, warmth, coolness, points of contact with the floor? What else is there for you to feel, what shifts to the foreground when you do not look for anything in particular? Be present in your body whenever your mindfulness anchor appears - curious about what you will find there in this moment.

20181031_155836_resized ©Marianne Tatschner
October 2018

29 October 2018

Mindfulness Impulse #3: Mindfulness in Autumn with A "Mindfulness Leaf"

IMG-20181015-WA0008_resized ©Linda Giesel

Mindfulness means meeting any experience with the same open, friendly and inquisitive attitude. Where we direct that attitude, the "objects" of mindfulness, can vary. On way to practise mindfulness is to choose an external object and to notice mindfully all sensory perceptions that arise in connection with that object.

As long as autumn has not yet fully given way to winter, a suggestion to practise in this way that fits the season: Maybe you would like to take an autumn stroll this week. While you walk, you could look for a leaf you like. When you have found one, retreat to a quiet spot and take 5-10 minutes to look at your leaf. Use all of your senses: What does your leaf look like? What is its form, its colours? Can you see through it in some places? What can you feel when you touch it? Does it feel rough, smooth, thick, thin, brittle or solid? What is its smell like? Is there a sound when you move it between your fingers? Let your leaf surprise you with the many things you can discover.

22 October 2018
Mindfulness Impulse #2: The Mindfulness Power Move

Mindfulness asks: "What is my experience like, right now, in this moment?" - with openness, curiousity and kindness. This question is a "power move" because it helps us to get out of our usual reactive patterns we might not be aware of. When we realise we are angry and we are able to acknowledge our anger, we can look for an appropriate way of dealing with it - instead of snapping at the next person that crosses our path. An experience we are fully aware of does not control us.

The simplest way to practise this is to ask ourselves regularly: "What is there, what can I notice in this moment?" With this question we can approach our body and our emotions. We can ask ourselves (and you can do this now while you are reading this text if you like): "What am I noticing in my body in this moment?" There might be warmth or coolness, tension, relaxation, tingling, itching, movement - or something else entirely. Maybe the sensations are sharp or vague, stable or fluctuating, maybe hardly anything is noticeable. What if all of this were equally valid, equally welcome?

20181009_143225_resized ©Marvin Süß

We can also ask: "What is happening now, in this moment, in my emotional experience?" There might be a strong emotion we can name with certainty, like anger, fear, sadness, joy or relief. There might be a vague mood or a mixture of different, blurred emotions. Or we might not be able to notice anything in particular. What is the difference between noticing your emotions and thinking about them? Are you able to switch back and forth between the two?

Try to be curious about the answers you find when you ask about your present moment experience - no matter what these answers look like. The more we practice turning to our experience with kindness and interest, the more we will be able to do this "power move", even in challenging situations.

15 October 2018
Mindfulness Impulse #1: Mindfulness - What could that be?

IMG-20181015-WA0000_resized ©Linda Giesel

To be mindful means to see things as they are - without trying to get rid of them and without clinging to them. Recognising what is there. For most of us, this is a very unusual thing to do. We are stressed out, tired or annoyed and we try to change how we feel and get rid of our unpleasant feelings - often without realising we are doing it. Or we might enjoy the moment and we try to extend it and get more of the nice feelings. Mindfulness is the space that opens up when we become aware of what is happening - including all our efforts to change our experience.

It is not possible to use mindfulness strategically. To accept the moment in order to make it change is not possible. Instead, we try to find the place inside of us that allows us to observe everything and let it be just the way it is. This is not a skill that we can learn, master and utilise but an ongoing process. You are invited into the practice, the experience, the moment. The journey, the adventure right here, right now, in this breath, in this sensation. To come to this place of "just noticing" again and again, no matter how often you leave it or forget it, means to practice mindfulness. Why you should do that? If you set out to find that out for yourself, you are already right in the middle of the mindfulness adventure.