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Melli O'Brien



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Calming Reactivity, Acting Intentionally

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

Today, I'm going to talk about how

we can learn to calm reactivity so

that we can act more intentionally.

So when we practice mindfulness and

we begin to really watch the mind,

we start to see how the mind can

be really jumpy, really reactive.

Often we're there, and we're focusing

on the breath and then all of a

sudden, an unpleasant feeling arises

and the mind immediately starts to

push it away or fight against it.

And then we might come back to the breath

for a while and then maybe a pleasant

thought comes up, maybe about planning

a vacation or something like that.

And we chase the thought,

we get lost in the thought.

Then we realize what's happening.

We come back to the breath.

And then maybe a memory arises

about someone who let us down.

We immediately start to going to a mental

narrative about how wrong they are.

Anger starts to build.

And then we catch ourselves

and we come back to the breath.

And so on.

Now, as we watch the mind, we

can really start to see that a

lot of what it does has an almost

automated kind of feeling to it.

It's very reactive.

So an unpleasant emotion arises, and we

have a knee-jerk response of resistance.

A pleasant thought arises, we have

a knee-jerk response to chase it.

An impulse arises, and we act on it.

A judgment arises, and we buy

into it and we react to that.

So we really start to see that a

lot of the time, we're not really

consciously choosing a response, the

mind just kind of does what it does.

It reacts.

But as we continue to practice

mindfulness, what we see is that we

open up more and more inner space.

So we learn to step back from thoughts,

emotions, and impulses and observe them.

So what we're really doing here is

we're really kind of unhooking ourselves

from the thought and the emotion and

learning to meet it with awareness.

Now, when we're meeting it with awareness,

we don't have to react immediately.

We can pause in that space of

awareness and then choose a

more skillful response instead.

So we don't have to always be at the

mercy of all the mind's knee-jerk

reactions, whether it's to a

feeling, a thought, an impulse or

a difficult situation in our lives.

So the more we develop this capacity for

mindfulness, the more we open up that

inner space, the more we actually have

the ability to respond to life instead.

And of course, what we develop

in meditation really relates

to every part of daily life.

Whereas before we might've spent so

much time in reactive mode, chasing

this, acting on that, resisting

this, judging that, now we've become

less reactive and more grounded in

presence and able to respond instead.

Therefore, we're able to make more

wise choices, the ones that move

us away from suffering and lead

towards us living a happier, more

loving and more meaningful life.

So as always, thank you for your

practice and your presence here with us.

And let's now settle in

for today's meditation.

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