Spiritual Baby Steps

"Doing" spirituality in the real world

Focus on Why

I just read the first lesson in mindfulness from the book, “Letting Everything Become Your Teacher” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He says, “In order for meditation practice to take root in your life and flourish, you will have to know why you are practicing.” I couldn’t agree more!

In fact, I would argue that this premise holds true for most things worth pursuing in our lives. At work I teach people about behavior change and one of the main objectives we talk about is helping patients identify their own reasons for change… their motivations… what drives them. You know, instead of telling people what to do… what changes they should make and all the reasons why… which is usually not so effective.

In order for any change to really stick, it needs to be connected in some way to your core values. I’m not saying that superficial reasons can’t drive you… dropping the last 10 pounds to fit into that reunion dress can be a great motivator! What I’ve seen time and again, however, is that to keep it off… and even more importantly, to really incorporate a new practice into your daily routine… you better have more than a superficial carrot or short-term goal to sustain you.

So, the next time you’re looking to make a change… whether it’s a meditation practice, dropping pounds or getting more organized… consider why? Why now? What would be different if you were successful and why would that matter to you? Try to separate the reasons that you think others might want you to make this change with your own reasons for change. There is no “right” answer… just “your” answer.

Focus on your reasons… write them down… and look at them often! You might just find that focusing on the “why” helps push you in the direction of change.

Love and laughter to you! ~Rashel


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6 thoughts on “Focus on Why

  1. Always very topical posts for me Rachel – weird or serendipity (is that the right word!). I’m 3 weeks into a 6 week meditation course aligned with Jon Kabat-Zinn’s materials. I also have combined that with internet free evenings and weekends, so every evening is given up to 40 minutes meditation. I hope that it will lead to a life changing habit…..but you are absolutely right, I felt a strong need for change.

    • Jerry- I’m excited to hear that you are taking Jon Kabat-Zinn’s meditation course… I’ve taken it, and it changed my life! ~R

      • Thanks Rashel – that really reinforces what I’m experiencing right now! The guys at work are wondering why I’m so ‘Happy’ these days! My experience is that it is taking discipline and effort and some hard choices – but I’m experiencing some wonderful benefits. I was thinking of going on to teach Mindfulness, in that it will reinforce my practice, and also there is no better way to learn a subject than by teaching it. – Have you managed to build a daily meditation habit?

      • @Jerry… I would like to say that I have a well-established daily meditation practice… but alas… not so! I have managed to start a meditation group at work and we meditate every Tuesday from 2:30-3pm. Even that consistency has been very rewarding… and as you say, teaching is a great way to learn! I did have a more consistent meditation practice after I took the course, and found it amazing. One of those things I would highly recommend despite my inability to make it happen myself! Go… Teach… Enjoy!

  2. Shelley on said:

    I am just today finally reading your blog. So, I also read yours and Jerry’s comments. The funny thing is, while I was reading your blog, I was thinking “mindfulness”. I know your suggestions have more to do with a person knowing what they want to achieve from having done something, or at least have some expectations of what they might receive from incorporating something like meditation in their daily routines. While mindfulness relates more to the practice while you’re doing it. I guess what I’m tying to say is I think that being mindful and having some awareness of what we want from life, in all aspects, puts us so far ahead of the game. Even if those expectations are never totally realized. Good food for thought, as always Rashel.

    • Thanks, Mama. I think you’re right that mindfulness factors in here. So we’re saying that it’s good to know what you want… why you want it… and ultimately to be mindful as often as possible so you can stay focused on where you’re going and why. :–)

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