My mornings, at least most of my mornings, start with meditation. I do it right after I pour my coffee and before I do anything productive (except Tuesdays and Thursdays, which start at OMG o’clock for Bootcamp). Right now, I’m doing a Headspace meditation series that involves a technique called noting. It’s a tool to teach you discernment, which is a core value of being an evolved human.
Without discernment, we revert to our base self, reacting to stimulus instead of responding. That reaction place can be dangerous. Reacting leads to nasty words we can’t take back, road rage incidents, saying “Yes” when we really mean “No” and photos or video posted on social media, capturing our worst moments forever.
Reacting mostly happens when we are tired or under stress. Without discernment, we see a threat around every corner. I learned in Africa that prey animals, like antelope, have a different take on threat assessment. When they hear something frightening, they run TOWARD the threat to determine what’s what. They know it’s worth the time and energy to investigate the threat to determine their next move. They pause long enough to determine whether or not they NEED to respond.
Noting is that pause. In my current meditation series, I’m breathing and focusing on only the breath. When I get distracted, I pause to note whether the distraction is a thought or a feeling. I respond by saying, “Thinking” or “Feeling” in my head and then return to the breath. No judgement that I’m doing meditation wrong. No knee-jerk frustration. Just noting and returning to the task at hand.
If you want to try it for yourself, download the Headspace App. I love Andy’s (yes we are on a first name basis) adorable British accent, and there are meditations to choose from that are 1-60 minutes long. Give responding a try and tell me all about the results at firstname.lastname@example.org. Imagine a world where we all responded thoughtfully instead of reacting impulsively. I want to live in that world!