Mindfulness is the practice of simplicity in a complex world. When your mind is causing you problems, it is trying to focus on all the complexities of life in a way that makes life stressful. Stress makes things more difficult and it makes it harder to think clearly. When you are experiencing stress, you may not be able to remember all that you need to know to release your stress and allow your mind to work the way it needs to to support your life. Your mind contains all kinds of information to help you lead your complex life, but you don’t have to hold so much in your awareness all at once, you just need to be able to access it when you need it. The rest of the time you can put it down. When your mind is full, you need something absurdly simple that you can remember in your time of need. The simple solution is to breathe. Breathe on purpose. Breathe with awareness.
Breathing is too simple. In order for breathing to work for you, you need context. To make things more complicated I created a mnemonic for breathe. You don’t need to remember what each letter means, you only need to remember to breathe. When you breathe, you will remember what you need.
Breathe. Be present. Be aware of your Breath.
Remember your basic goodness. Recognize your feelings, Recall that you don’t want to suffer and you don’t deserve to suffer. Realize that you can address your suffering with mindfulness practice. Release your thoughts.
Engage your mind. Enter the present moment. Empty your mind. Expand your awareness to include new possibilities. Embrace your circumstances.
Attune to your feelings and the feelings of others. Accept what you are feeling. Address your circumstances as manageable. Activate compassion for your suffering and the suffering of others.
Think of what is causing your suffering or the suffering of others. Treat yourself kindly, without judgement. Thoughts are only thoughts. Try to see what might help the situation.
Help, if you see something you can do. Hold your intention to create peace and bring Harmony to the situation.
End the Exercise. Experience the relaxation you created by Engaging with your difficult emotion. Enjoy the moment of peace you created. Ease back into the complicated world.
You don’t need to remember the whole process in order for it to work for you. If you consciously turn to your breath to center yourself in the present and address your difficult (or delightful) circumstance, you are acting on a belief that incorporates the principles of mindfulness. You don’t have to remember all of the principles. You only have to remember to breathe. It is that simple.