Get mindful

Living in the here and now is a lot easier when things are going well. But, as journalist Clementine van Wijngaarden finds, it is during the rough times that mindfulness can be most beneficial. In issue 18 she writes about her five insights. Here, we share one.

Stop wanting things to be different from what they actually are
In the first mindfulness session I lay down on my mat for the body scan. I tried to relax but I couldn’t, and my body felt stiff as a plank. Afterward I heard others complain they had fallen asleep, and I was envious. To fall asleep, to surrender to the mat I was lying on – that’s what I wanted. “Wanting things to be different than they are, wishing for something that isn’t there, is a thought we get stuck in,” says mindfulness expert Mila de Koning. “Your challenge is to relate to the here and now. When you look at it properly, you are suffering more from your desire to relax than from your lack of relaxation. You’re feeling resistance to the situation as it is. As Jon Kabat Zinn once said, ‘You have pain, mentally or physically, which is unpleasant, but resisting this pain, that’s suffering.’ He even put it into an equation: Pain X Resistance = Suffering. In mindfulness the point is to be present with what is here, how things are at this moment in the here and now, and to be kind toward it.”

Text Clementine van Wijngaarden Photography Shutterstock