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cultivate the 9 mindful attitudes of Jon Kabat-Zinn

The 9 mindful attitudes were put together and developed by John Kabat-Zinn, one of the founders of the modern-day mindfulness movement. They are simple qualities to try and adopt into our daily lives in order to improve our overall mental and physical wellbeing. Below I discuss how we can practise these qualities through music as a means to them to take fourth into our daily life. If you can begin to practise and adopt these attitudes into your life you will become happier, healthier and more aware of the present moment. They may seem like obvious or easy ideas but in practise they can be much harder than at first glance. Just like anything this will take practise, patience and a little bit of commitment but what you gain will be well worth it and will be with you for life. Below I will talk a little bit about each attitude and then will suggest some meditations and exercises to do whilst listening to help you develop the attitude.

alfons-morales-YLSwjSy7stw-unsplash.jpg“read, understand, practise”

non-judging

When we make a judgement all we are doing is narrowing our view of what is happening. Judgement is something we often cannot help but what we go on to do with the judgement is our own choice. We can choose to feed the judgement with further thoughts, or we can allow it to pass through our mind without giving it any attention. The more attention you give your judgements the more permanent and habitual they become in your mind. The key isn’t to stop judging it’s too become aware of the process of judgement so you can prevent it taking over your thoughts. In the long term by no longer feeding our judgement we actually begin to judge less as time goes on.

When you judge a piece of music you are no longer listening to the music you are simply listening to your opinion and judgement. But here’s the thing, that music exists without that judgement, if you want you can remove the judgement and listen to the music for what is simply is.

  • Listen to your chosen piece and wait for your judgement to come. I’m sure it will, we often listen to pieces of music and think either “I really like this piece of music” or “I don’t like this part.” Telling you to not judge the music would be nearly impossible but what we can do is recognise and observe our judgement. Let it rise up in our thoughts and give it no attention. Thoughts only stay in our mind because we give them constant attention, thinking and re-thinking. If we simply move our attention back to the music and away from the judgement the thought will disappear.
  • Listen without judgement. Once you have removed the thought “I don’t like this” or “this sounds weird” try and listen to the music for what it really is. What does it sound like? what is going on when we’re not thinking “I don’t like this?”
  • Why do you think that? When your judgement arises ask yourself why you think that? If you really like something try explaining why you like it – the same if you don’t like something. Spending time questioning our judgements helps us to better understand why they are there in the first place, we are no longer listening to the judgement but instead questioning why we thought it.
  • Listen to the piece of music and reflect on these three questions:

What does non-judging mean to me?

Do I judge too quickly?

Am I able to judge less?


acceptance

Through non-judgement comes acceptance. Being able to accept your reality is a true skill that requires time and patience. Accepting is the art of not lying to yourself. Because in truth we can’t lie to ourselves, we can try to trick and manipulate our thoughts as much as possible, but this is just wasted time because eventually we have to accept the truth. Once we begin to accept ourselves and our situation, we make space for ourselves to flourish and grow into who we truly are. In time this allows us to become much happier and more comfortable in our own skin.

  • If you don’t like a sound or you really enjoy a certain sound, accept that feeling and continue to listen anyway. Acceptance is the art of letting something ‘be’ just for what it is. If you don’t like something that is fine but accept that for yourself and listen anyway.
  • Listen to the piece of music and reflect on these questions:

What does acceptance mean to me?

Am I an accepting person?

Is there something I am not accepting about myself?

Can I become more accepting of others?


patience

Patience is a fundamental part of our practise and life. Sometimes the trick with patience is to step back and reflect on the need to rush or why we are becoming impatient. Once we have identified the reason behind our impatience it may become apparent that the feeling of rushing isn’t actually necessary, and we have just tricked ourselves into becoming impatient.

Have patience with yourself and with the music. Life is not a race even though it can often feel like it. In the end we all come and return from the same place.

  • I would recommend following this link to one of our longer pieces of music. This piece ‘river journey’ lasts just over an hour. I invite you to make some time to listen to this piece of music. Being able to sit and listen intently for an entire hour takes an immense amount of patience so don’t worry if the first time round you can only listen to a small amount. Treat this as an ongoing challenge, return to this piece when you can and allow your patience for this music to grow until you can comfortably sit for the entire hour.

https://www.quiet-note.com/title/river-journey/

  • Listen to a piece of music and reflect on these questions:

What does patience mean to me?

Am I a patient person?

Am I patient with myself?

Am I patient with others?

Where in my life can I find time for more patience?


beginner’s mind

Beginner’s mind is a beautiful way of looking at the world. Imagine the first time you saw an enormous tree or a beautiful flower, the very first time was so exciting because it was new and interesting and so full of wonder. But after a while that feeling faded, that amazing tree simply became another tree, and that flower became simply another flower. This doesn’t have to be the case though! If we look at that tree as if it were the very first time we saw it we can allow ourselves to reignite that feeling of wonder. We can live our life experiencing the wonder and magic that things are. Imagine how a child walks through the world, everything is new to them and as a result they are in constant wonder and awe. I invite you to channel your inner child and walk through our music.

  • I invite you to listen to your chosen piece of music as if it were the first piece of music you ever listened too. Imagine everything is brand new and a complete sonorous mystery.
  • Find a piece of music that you have already listened too – it might be the meditation of the week – but this time imagine as if it was the first time you’ve listened to it. Try and find that feeling you had when you first listened.
  • Wherever you are, whilst you listen to your chosen piece, look around you as if this was your first time you were in the space you are. Can you spot anything new? What’s your first impression through your beginner’s mind?
  • Listen to the piece of music and reflect on these questions:

What does beginner’s mind mean to me?

How can I adopt a beginner’s mind more into my daily life?


trust

Having trust in ourselves can sometimes be the hardest type of trust there is. It is important though that we learn to trust ourselves and trust others. If we live our life fearing trust, we can become isolated and over worked. However, if we learn to become more trusting with ourselves and others, we can become more comfortable, more relaxed and more easy-going throughout our daily lives.

  • I invite you to listen to your chosen piece of music and try to remember a time where you were rewarded for trusting yourself. A time when you put all your trust into yourself and it paid off completely. How did that feel? Why did you decide to trust yourself that day? Can you now relay that feeling into trusting yourself today?
  • Listen to the piece of music and reflect on these questions:

What does trust mean to you?

Who do you trust and why do you trust them?

Do you trust yourself?

Can you become more trusting in nature?

take a moment just now to simply breathe

non-striving

Our world has moved to a place where we constantly feel like we have to be striving higher and moving quickly onto the next task without reflecting on all the good work we have done to get to where we are. Practising non-striving isn’t about getting rid of our goals and targets it’s about being able to fulfil those targets without the looming pressure that we need to get onto the next task. Non-striving teaches us to enjoy the task we are doing and to be able to reflect and say well-done to ourselves at the end of it.

  • Listen to a piece of music just for the sake of listening to it. You’re not listening for a specific reason or purpose; you’re just taking time to listen. Don’t think about it, just listen and enjoy yourself.
  • Are you putting yourself under a lot of pressure because you are striving for something at the moment? Listen to your chosen piece of music and contemplate the reasons why you are striving and if you could perhaps be a little easier on yourself.
  • Listen to the piece of music and reflect on these questions:

What does non-striving mind mean to me?

Am I constantly striving onto the next task?

Do I take time to appreciate all the hard work I put into completing my previous task(s)?


letting go

Letting go can be difficult but it is usually always extremely rewarding. It is not always about the big things as well, how much time throughout the day do we carry around meaningless thoughts and emotions that just take up valuable mental capacity? Through awareness and taking time to be truthful to ourselves we can learn what we need to let go of. Just like tidying our attic, we may at first think we need to keep onto an old box of thoughts or feelings, but in reality we would be much better off letting them go. I invite you to have a clean out of your mental attic.

  • Whilst you are listening, take time to ask yourself if you are holding onto anything that is causing you discomfort or having a negative effect on you. Can you let go of it…? Perhaps not without a solution but at least you are aware that it needs a solution now and that is the first step towards letting go.
  • If you have something which you want to let go of I invite you to do so by focussing on your breath:
      1. Begin by observing your breath, you don’t have to do anything just feel the gentle rise and fall of your stomach.
      2. When you are ready imagine yourself with every out breath expelling what you want to let go of from your body. Let go with your breath.
      3. Breathe in the new space and breath out what you no longer need.
  • We talked about judgment just before so now I would like you to try and let go of any judgements you have made when you listen to the piece of music and create a space of non-judgement to be with the music
  • Listen to the piece of music and reflect on these questions:

What does letting go mean to me?

Do I find letting go easy?


gratitude

Gratitude is discussed a lot in mindfulness and that is because there are countless studies about the proven benefits of gratitude. Being grateful isn’t just about being grateful for the most expensive item you own we can actually be grateful for just about anything. Here are a few examples off the top of my head:

  • The air we breathe
  • Our life on this planet
  • Access to food and water
  • Family, friendships and pets
  • Education
  • Good health

We can find countless things on a day-to-day basis to be grateful for and taking time to think of what we are grateful for does wonders for our wellbeing.

  • I invite you to listen to your chosen piece of music and ask yourself: why am I grateful for this music?
  • I invite you to grab a pen and paper and listen to your chosen piece of music. Write down 5 reasons you have to be grateful for today. Believe it or not by listing 5 things we are grateful for every day has been proved to reduce stress.
  • Listen to a piece of music and reflect on these questions:

What does gratitude mean to me?

Do I find it easy to think of reasons to be grateful?

Can I start to become more grateful for the small things in my life?


generosity

We often think of generosity as an external idea, it usually involves us giving something away to someone else – like our time or money and there’s nothing wrong with that but as well as an external idea we must counterbalance it with the internal idea, do we ever take time to be generous to ourselves? How can we be generous to ourselves? This whole article is all about how to improve your wellbeing, so you have already taken the time to give yourself a little bit of generosity and this is very important. There is no limit on our generosity, so make sure you save a little bit for yourself. I invite you to be generous with your generosity.

  • I invite you to listen to your chosen piece of music and write down three ways in which you could become more generous to yourself. The trick after this exercise is actually going away and doing it.
  • Listen to a piece of music and reflect on these questions:

What does generosity mean to me?

Am I a generous person to others?

Am I a generous person to myself?

How could I be more generous to myself?

thank you for taking the time to read

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read through this article. I hope that you will take away a few ideas of how to use our pieces at quiet note to ensure you get the most out of your membership. Remember that every meditation is our own personal experience. This article acts as a guide but the best guidance we can receive is from our own bodies – take the time to listen to your body.
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