On Mindfulness

I don’t like making mistakes. But who does? I know that mistakes are important for me learning, developing and growing. I know that I can’t avoid them. They belong to life. I try to pacify them, using affirmations and wise sentences like: “The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything” (by Edward John Phelps). Does it help?-partially only.

Mistake is an outcome of a decision that does not fulfil my expectations and is not in an agreement with what I wanted and planned. It can be a small, unimportant blunder or a big disaster. As a result of it I can be embarrassed, ridiculed, abandoned or even punished; none of which is pleasant. And I will feel it in my body as discomfort, nervousness, anxiety or even pain. No wonder that I dislike it. No wonder that I want to avoid mistakes and minimize their number. And I do it by thinking; I create elaborated plans and stories: I analyze mentally a mistake from all possible angles, before it occurs and after it has happened. I find guilt in people and circumstances. I believe that I can remove discomfort in the body by using my intelligence. It doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes I can’t stop the diligent mind from overheating in search of explanation and solution. But I should remember that the mind may not have an answer or a solution. So where to find it? How to cope with the discomfort made by mistakes?

The answer is: in the present, where all the turmoil appears, in the body that feels.

So I turn away from thoughts towards the state of my body. I concentrate on breathing; I feel the headache or whatever ache I experience here and now, I am present with the heaviness on my chest without judging or explaining anything. I am mindful of the energy moving in my body. And the notion of mistake disappears. There is no mistake any longer. There is only experience that my body has in the moment. It knows what to do with it and I trust it.

I know that this action of redirecting attention is a very difficult thing to do, because we are so trained in trusting the mind and distrusting the body. But you will never know until you actually do it and experience it for yourself. And it doesn’t cost anything just a bit of courage. How big mistake can it be?