“True compassion is undirected & holds no conceptual focus. That kind of genuine, true compassion is only possible after realizing emptiness.”― Tsoknyi Rinpoche
This is part-2 of the two part series on the things that highly mindful people do differently. You can read part-1 here.
Here is a summary of part 1:
1. Being Mindful In The Present
2. Letting Go Instead Of Grasping or Having Excessive Attachment
3. Developing Acceptance
4. Allowing The Breath To Release Stress And Increase Awareness
5. Being Flexible With Body, Mind and Spirit
6. Slowing Down Vs. Always In A Hurry And Always On The Move
7. Welcoming Change
8. Being Light Hearted
9. Serving Others Instead Of Being Self Serving
Let us begin with part 2:
10. Being Calm And Still vs. Being Habitually Angry and Upset
“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”― Maya Angelou
Highly mindful people carry around a core of calm and tranquility around with them and do not allow external situations to significantly alter or transform their state.
Mindful people do not get to dodge the difficult situations, and neither do they attribute their calm demeanor and resolution of matters to luck or to chance.
Mindful people have been at the crossroads of out of control emotions, reactions and setbacks and have internalized a different and a more productive approach of responding in a calm manner.
It is almost as if the stressful situations, angry moments and emotional upset do not stick and linger with them for too long and simply fall apart.
Unmindful people refuse to carry or maintain their core of calm because deep inside they feel chaotic and out of control. They reflect this internal chaos to the outer world because their only option is to express it outwards.
Many people have not been given the opportunity and the training to productively and constructively express their anger and emotions without getting all gnarled up in the stories of despair.
“Anger is like flowing water; there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you let it flow. Hate is like stagnant water; anger that you denied yourself the freedom to feel, the freedom to flow; water that you gathered in one place and left to forget. Stagnant water becomes dirty, stinky, disease-ridden, poisonous, deadly; that is your hate. On flowing water travels little paper boats; paper boats of forgiveness. Allow yourself to feel anger, allow your waters to flow, along with all the paper boats of forgiveness. Be human.”― C. JoyBell C.
Mindful people know that the key to modifying behavior is not at the heat of the moment but through a daily practice of silence and meditation and practicing gentleness and compassion towards the self and towards others.
This practice of silence eventually trickles into every part of their lives and their approach to stress and anger changes because of a keen sense of awareness.
Mindful people also realize that some things and people trigger them more than other and give themselves the permission and wiggle room to be mildly angry and express their emotions.
They do not consistently resist the difficult emotions and thus end up not strengthening them.
“Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. ― Aristotle
11. Actual Practice vs. Intellectualizing
“We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.”― Anthony Hopkins
Highly mindful people do not spend their precious time and energy justifying, rationalizing and asking for permission for their every move.
Mindful awareness gives them the power to move ahead without too much resistance and doubt.
Highly mindful people understand that the only permission that they need unequivocally is from their own self.
However this is not the same as asking for assistance or other points of view and mindful people do not hesitate to do so.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in taking your time to make a decision or asking others for suggestions but if most of your daily decisions are clouded by doubt and endless mind rumination, you need to become aware of the pattern.
Mindful people realize that excess thinking and intellectualizing will not solve a problem and have the keen sense of awareness to strike a balance between when to stop thinking and when to begin acting.
Unmindful people use up all their willpower and endless CPU cycles intellectualizing the problem while the real solution lies in engagement and improvisation.
Mindful people make thinking and acting seem fluid and supporting one another or creating synergy instead of taking away from each other or creating discord.
It is this fine tuned ability to catch excessive thinking discord and the ability and willingness to engage and act that distinguishes mindful people from people who are not aware of when to stop thinking.
12. Being Open To Possibilities And Miracles vs. Being Closed To Opportunity
“I dwell in possibility…”― Emily Dickinson
Highly mindful people practice an “open to possibilities” mindset.
They realize that shutting themselves down to the numerous options and tunnel visioning their approach is counter-productive and shuts off their awareness.
Mindful people are aware of the power and efficacy of the small little word called hope and live continually hoping for the best and expecting the best.
Unmindful people inadvertently shut off their awareness to possibilities and opportunities and describe hope and possibility as “wishful thinking.”
They have often shut off ideas and openings even before they can come to them and can completely materialize.
“It may have happened, it may not have happened but it could have happened.”― Mark Twain
Being open to possibilities and believing in synchronicities and miracles literally broadens the horizons and the awareness of highly mindful people.
It is almost things just happen and fall in place for them without too much effort because they have often done the important task or looked in the right place.
This is similar to the famous story of the person whose home is getting flooded and prays to their almighty to come and rescue them.
A lifeboat then shows up but the sinking person refuses to get in. Then a ship comes and asks them to hop in but still they say no. Finally, a helicopter hovers above and begs them to get in but they refuse because they are waiting to be rescued by their almighty.
Then the person goes to the gates of heaven and asks the almighty why they were not rescued. In a booming voice, the almighty says that they sent a lifeboat, a ship and a helicopter to rescue the person!
Are you open to possibilities and opportunities?
13. Living Life Like It Is A Prayer Of Gratitude vs. Living Life Like It Is A Burden
Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Highly mindful people know intuitively that the greatest of all virtues is a deep and heartfelt feeling of gratitude and appreciation.
Instead of simply counting their blessings once a day or making lists of things to be grateful because everyone else is doing it, they make it a priority to live and breathe deep and heartfelt gratitude.
For mindful people, every opportunity of saying a big “thank you” and appreciating the wonder of existence is never passed up.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”― Marcus Tullius Cicero
It is not that highly mindful people are unaware of the troubles and difficulties that everyone experiences. Instead they do not allow their consciousness to dwell in lack and limitation for too long.
Unmindful people place reservations and restrictions on gratitude and appreciation and make gratitude a game. They do not realize that true gratitude is a way of life and not just a “give and take” kind of transaction.
“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.”― Brené Brown
Unmindful people give thanks and shower appreciation because they are expecting something in return. When they do not receive what they desire, they often get bored and move on and stop being grateful.
Unmindful people live life like it a burden or feel that they are entitled to everything.
Highly mindful people live their life like it a wonderful miracle and do not feel entitled but deeply grateful for the good that is happening all around them.
“[Gratitude] turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”― Melody Beattie
14. Having a Sense Of Humility vs. Being Arrogant And Over-confident
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”― Ernest Hemingway
Highly mindful people approach life with a sense of optimistic humility and confidence. While they deeply believe in their own abilities and approaches, they never feel the need or the necessity to talk excessively about themselves or put others down.
Mindful people have unhooked their self-esteem with a constant need for approval and attention.
As a result of this important awareness, they do not experience the need to push their agendas and their points of views down others throats. They lead by example and by confident action.
However, the powerful confidence of mindful people does not make the journey into the brash realms of arrogance and cockiness.
They are mindful of the harmful nature of over-confidence and arrogance and approach situations with genuine humility and the intention to understand and learn.
“A true genius admits that he/she knows nothing.”― Albert Einstein
Highly unmindful people sway seamlessly into the maps of arrogance, excessive confidence and a sense of brash entitlement.
While this serves them for a while, eventually people get a wind of the long windedness of these people and stop responding to their claims and narcissism.
Being over-confident blind sights them into believing that that are better than they really are and feeling like they are more prepared than the reality of the situation.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” ― C.S. Lewis
And as the famous quote goes, you can fool some people some of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.
Eventually, a strategy without substance and deep learning and understanding that is built on the hot air of brashness falls flat on the ground without any foundation to stand upon.
“Arrogance is a creature. It does not have senses. It has only a sharp tongue and the pointing finger.”― Toba Beta
15. Simplicity vs. Making Everything overly Complicated
“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”― Albert Einstein
Highly mindful people make the complicated and the complex look simple and easy to look at because they are committed to deep understanding and making things easier.
They actively avoid over-complicating matters and draw clear lines in the sand or set boundaries when it comes to their life and tasks.
They realize intuitively that while complicated explanations sound good and appear high sounding to others, they end up as a means for isolation and not inclusion.
If you want to include everyone, you need to take the seemingly complex and impossible and distill it into something understandable to everyone through experience and effective story telling.
Listen to feedback.
Have a clear understanding of expectations and boundaries of where things get too complicated.
Unmindful people get caught up in their stories of complexity and abstruseness and use it as a means to distinguish their self and get respect.
But in reality, all that accomplishes is that they end up isolating more people because they refuse to connect with them on a level that is mutually agreeable.
Unmindful people throw out big sounding words and feel joy at the lack of understanding of others and do not make an attempt to make something clearly understandable and simple.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”― Leonardo da Vinci
16. Living from a sense of love and caring vs. Living from resentment and hatred
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”― Martin Luther King Jr
Highly mindful people live from a view point of love and compassion.
They realize that life presents a choice at every bend, a choice to love or to hate, a choice to be compassionate or to be vengeful.
Highly mindful people deeply understand the outcome of living life from hate and vengeance and have allowed themselves to let go of them and instead choose love and responding with care and compassion.
Highly mindful people find it easier to forgive situations and people because they understand that it is themselves that they are hurting the most eventually with an attitude of unforgiveness.
This does not mean that they condone poor behavior, it simply means that they have a means to regulate their own behavior through consciously choosing to forgive for their own peace of mind and come to a resolution in their own minds.
Unmindful people find it very difficult to approach life from love and compassion because in realty they do not feel it in their hearts and minds.
For them, getting even and being resentful is more important than a sense of deep peace and resolution.
17. Having the beginners mind vs. Having a know it all attitude
“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few. ”― Shunryu Suzuki
Highly mindful people know that in order to maintain their edge and their curiosity for life and flourish, they need to adopt the learning mindset and have a beginners mind.
Mindful people are students for life. They:
Read new books and materials.
They travel a lot and have new experiences.
They allow other viewpoints to enrich their lives.
They cross-pollinate into fields that are unknown to them
They allow themselves to appear foolish and still learn new things.
Mindful people actively put to rest the old and timeless adage that “you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.” They are living examples of the inaccuracy of that quote for every person.
Unmindful people place limits and boundaries on their learning and understanding and move with the fixed mindset that psychologist Carol Dweck describes in her book, Mindset.
When they confront a challenge or problem and they are unable to solve it with what they know or their level of perceived intelligence, they simply give up and move on.
Unmindful people get deeply embarrassed by the various stages of learning something new. In their minds, they need to be experts or nothing at all.
Mindful people empty their minds and allow new things to come in and blossom to enrich their lives.
Unmindful people have full minds and have no room or patience for a new viewpoint or a new understanding.
The Zen story of a cup of tea demonstrates the importance of a beginners mind.
A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master, Nan-in to learn about Zen teaching.
As the master served tea, he did not say a word, but the eager professor talked to him about Zen.
Nan-in poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring.
The surprised professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself.
The professor blurted out: “It’s overfull! No more will go in!”
The master calmly replied: “You are like this cup and full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
18. Functional vs. Cluttered
“Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination”― Christina Scalise
Highly mindful people maintain a level of functionality in their lives and realize that some things that they are not using will serve others better.
Mindful people make room for new things and experiences to come in.
Mindful people regularly declutter their bodies, minds and spirits.
“The wonderful, beautiful thing that happens when you rid yourself of the things that don’t see your worth? You make space in your life for all the glorious things you deserve.”― Mandy Hale
If something is not functional, they have the ability to let go of the attachment and pass it along to where it will be utilized and can be functional.
Unmindful people are great collectors of information and things.
They mindlessly accumulate more stuff and use it to fill a deep need for recognition and other deficiencies that feel on a very deep basis.
They do not become aware of the idea that their physical clutter may be blocking new ideas and things into their lives by occupying every conceivable nook and cranny of their minds and their spaces.
“Out of clutter, find simplicity.”― Albert Einstein