A MEDITATION TO HELP SHIFT THE BRAIN’S NEGATIVITY BIAS
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about mindfulness in the workplace. The pursuit of corporate and career growth, achievement of goals and the spirit of competition seems so at odds with things like compassion, non-attachment and single-tasking.
But I’ve just finished reading a fantastic book by Lodro Rinzler called The Buddha Walks Into the Office and I’m feeling more optimistic the two camps can get along!
Lodro talks about remembering to stop and celebrate the moments we are proud of – and in fact ALL that we’ve got going for us.
This is my version of his ‘rejoicing’ meditation.
Let’s get settled for our meditation practice.
Adjust your body so that you’re nice and comfortable. Spine elongated towards the sky. Relaxed shoulders. And arms. Hands resting in your lap or on your thighs.
And taking a deep, beautiful breath to mark the start of this meditation. Feeling the refreshing air enter your nose or your throat. And as you exhale, releasing the day’s activities to the past, and tomorrow’s activities to the future.
Spending a couple of moments becoming acquainted with this breath. Gradually moving from those deliberate deep breaths back to a natural rhythm of breathing. In and out. In and out.
And for this meditation we’re going spend some time cultivating an attitude of celebration. Rejoicing all that we’ve got going for us. Dwelling in positive thoughts about our place in the world and our impact on those around us.
So to kick things off, think back on your day or week, and contemplate this question:
What have I done that I can be proud of?
Sitting with this question as the object of our meditation for the time being.
Thinking about what we accomplished at work, or in a hobby or a project. Or perhaps it was an interaction with someone; a child, or a co-worker or friend.
What things have you done today, or this week, that have made a difference in someone else’s life?
Just contemplate this for a few more moments.
And if you catch yourself starting to wander or creating stories or judgements around your list, gently come back to the question:
What I have I done that I can be proud of?
Contemplating all there is to rejoice in our lives right now. Quietening the inner critic. Shifting the needle on our brain’s negativity bias.
And even if we’ve had a particularly rough day and we’re struggling to come up with something specific, we can still bring to mind everyday things that can be celebrated. Thinking back to the barista who made us an exceptionally good coffee this morning. The generous driver who let us cut in in traffic. Or simply that we were able make some time for this meditation.
We’ll now close off that exercise. Take a pause, reconnect with your breath and switch your attention to your body.
Investigate whether the attitude of celebration is a felt experience in the body. Inhaling in to these areas; perhaps around the heart or the tummy. Keeping your attention focused there if it feels good for you.
We’ll now carry this intention of celebration with us into the rest of silent meditation.
Choose a mindfulness technique that feels best for you right now, and begin again whenever the connection is broken.