Today I want to teach you how to practice mindfulness in two steps, possibly the simplest concrete teaching in the world. I also want to share the best resources I know for getting unstuck when you feel so angry, upset or lost in drama that you can’t manage even this simple process. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone.
And beyond your learning, I want to invite you, today, to teach this skill to someone else. That may sound like a challenge, but I will spell out how, once I have shown you the skill itself. It starts like this:
Step 1: Breathe
Feel what it’s like to breathe. Notice the physical sensations in your chest, mouth, nose, shoulders and belly. Don’t think about it, feel it.
Step 2: Notice What Else
Once you’re feeling the breath, do the following:
LOOK around you and breathe
LISTEN to what you can hear and breathe
FEEL your body, physical and emotional and breathe
WATCH thoughts come and go and breathe
Step 2 (and a half): Reset
Thinking is addictive, and you will be lost in it before too long. After each breath, check if you are feeling, looking, listening, EXPERIENCING or thinking. If you are thinking (lost in a thought), go back to step 1.
This may sound TOO simple, but it is all you need to be peace in this instant (and it’s always this instant).
If, however, you find a thought or emotion too overwhelming and you can’t get unstuck from those thoughts, there is a simple, powerful way to escape – Question Your Thinking!
The work of Byron Katie is a simple, powerful, four question process that has never failed to loosen the grip of the thoughts that have stuck to me over the years. In the interview at the bottom of this post, Katie explains the process and how it took her from depressed and suicidal to peaceful and free.
To download Katie’s worksheet with the four questions, head over here.
Now It’s Your Turn:
Could you teach these simple skills to a friend, today? If you can show one person how to be peace, just for an instant, something opens up, and once peace starts to reveal itself, it becomes unstoppable. This is the start of World Peace.
It could be as simple as this:
You: Hey Karen, I just learnt the coolest thing, it’s so peaceful, can I show you?
Karen: Oh you and your crazy ideas! Of course you can show me!
You: Can you feel yourself breathing? Really feel what each breath is like. Ok now listen, look around, feel your body and keep feeling each breath. Pretty peaceful hey?
Karen: You are the best!
And if Karen loves it, maybe we can stretch this a little…
The World Peace Project:
I hope that, together, we can take this work ten steps further and instigate world peace. That sounds ambitious, because it is. But in truth, peace is contagious, and if enough humans become inwardly peaceful, our species will reach a tipping point, and then, who knows?
To spread this simple process, I am recruiting informally for a non-profit project, which will begin with the creation of two resources:
1) An info-graphic or illustrated version of the two (and a half) step process explained above. This will become a visual tool with which anyone can learn basic mindfulness in a few minutes, even if they can’t read. This will be distributed free online, and can be printed for the waiting rooms of doctors, to be distributed in schools, and anywhere else it wants to travel.
2) A free, downloadable online course showing you how to teach basic mindfulness to another human in just a few minutes.
There will be no charge for any of this, and I intend to use royalties from the sales of my books to spread this resources wider, have them translated into other languages, create versions for children, and whatever else may happen. I hope you’ll join in.
I may need a little help, from a designer or illustrator*, an expert communicator (to make sure it hits the mark), some marketing legends and from some honest folks who can give feedback to improve both resources.
I will also need help to share this resource in the places you think it should go, be that your workplace, home or your Facebook wall. Please leave a comment below if you’re willing to join in!
*If you help with the physical design or text, you will get credit on the resource itself.
Over To You!
If you’re up for the challenge, illustrate or info-graph a version and either comment below with the link or email me – (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the illustration, the link or both. I will post a link to your site here and on my Facebook page if you create a version on your own website or blog.
Please email if you have an idea about the text, about clearly communicating the steps or about some innovative way to spread the resource, (or if you just think it’s a cool idea).
And if you would like to be kept up to date on the project, you can join The World Peace Project mailing list below. I promise never to send you anything that isn’t project related.
Together, let’s simplify mindfulness, let’s share it with millions and let’s spread peace throughout this world.
Thank you, you don’t know how incredible you are,
P.S. Here’s my interview with the incredible Byron Katie: