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Suggestions on ways to remind myself to be mindful throughout my day

Hello. I have been practicing my meditation and basically just trying to be aware of what my mind is doing throughout my day. This has not been easy because I tend to forget to practice if I am at work and caught up in fixing a problem or if i get reprimanded for something. Or if I am at home and I get frustrated because the wife wants us to cook dinner and I just want to make a bowl of cereal and not have to do all the work associated with making dinner. (I get frustrated easily and then my mood just goes dark and it is hard to pull myself out)
So I bought a simple black wrist mala to hopefully help as a visual reminder to stay calm and be mindful of what i am doing/thinking. However I am afraid that it does not remind me as much as I would like. I guess it is just hard for me to catch my thoughts before they snowball into something negative. So I have also made my desktop wallpaper of a Buddha for work and I have posted different Buddhist quotes around my cube and places like next to my mirror for when i brush my teeth.
Can anyone suggest more reminders I could create to help me stay mindful and calm?

Comments

  • Well I am certainly not trying to go backwards! ;) I dont want to be mindful based on "things" its just that my mind is kind of a mental diarrhea. Its just all over the place and messy. I just would like things around me to give me a visual "kick" if you will to remind me to say to myself ..."oh yeah I need to be mindful and realize that I can control my thoughts and that they don't control me"
    I am certainly much better than i was... for instance.
    This weekend i was in the car and my wife backed over our light pole. Normally I would have lost it and went on a rant about how she always breaks things and because I am the man I have to fix them. But I took a moment and did what I would call a micro-meditation and thought about how my stress is due to my clinging to my free time (something that gets taken from me when I have to fix things) so I kept calm and told her I love her and that the pole doesn't matter.
    lobsterKundo
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    karmatib said:

    ...
    I am certainly much better than i was... for instance.
    This weekend i was in the car and my wife backed over our light pole. Normally I would have lost it and went on a rant about how she always breaks things and because I am the man I have to fix them. But I took a moment and did what I would call a micro-meditation and thought about how my stress is due to my clinging to my free time (something that gets taken from me when I have to fix things) so I kept calm and told her I love her and that the pole doesn't matter.

    Which reminds me of a situation that helped me learn to be mindful. Before retiring I had to commute to work via I-95 in Washington. Frequent traffic jams. Before becoming Buddhist you would often see me pounding on the steering wheel and cursing. After becoming Buddhist I would use the same situation as a time to be mindful.

    Similarly, when I was preparing for a difficult conference with a parent or teacher (I was a principal), I would spend a few mindful minutes before the meeting, if possible. Really helped.

    sndymornKundoBunks
  • IMHO dont push it too hard. Breath Relax and Smile. the mala on your wrist is good. everything you did, i'd say you are on the right track of things. now when it comes to practice that is another thingie. its hard and it does takes awhile :om:
    ericcris10senJeffreylobster
  • vinlyn said:

    karmatib said:

    ...
    I am certainly much better than i was... for instance.
    This weekend i was in the car and my wife backed over our light pole. Normally I would have lost it and went on a rant about how she always breaks things and because I am the man I have to fix them. But I took a moment and did what I would call a micro-meditation and thought about how my stress is due to my clinging to my free time (something that gets taken from me when I have to fix things) so I kept calm and told her I love her and that the pole doesn't matter.

    Which reminds me of a situation that helped me learn to be mindful. Before retiring I had to commute to work via I-95 in Washington. Frequent traffic jams. Before becoming Buddhist you would often see me pounding on the steering wheel and cursing. After becoming Buddhist I would use the same situation as a time to be mindful.

    Similarly, when I was preparing for a difficult conference with a parent or teacher (I was a principal), I would spend a few mindful minutes before the meeting, if possible. Really helped.

    I work in DC so I feel your pain about traffic.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Ah!

    But that's that's why I would look for situations to remind yourself of being mindful.
  • Thich Naht Hahn taught a top tip and that is using red traffic lights as a bell of mindfulness. I like that one; it transforms something that is usually frustrating (getting 'caught' by the lights) into something a little more pleasant.
    Kundo
  • He teaches a telephone one too; can't remember it exactly, but the first ring is the bell of mindfulness, then a deep breath (2nd ring), get mindful, and pick it up on the fifth ring; and then we're 'there' for the person who wants to speak with us.
    sndymorn
  • The wrist mala is a great thing to use. Whenever I feel stressed out, or impatient or whatever it may be, I usually take it off my wrist, and I'll sorta, move it about between my fingers, in a way that I am feeling each mala bead. For me, I feel the symbolism that mala beads have in Buddhism (and other religions), and that works for me. I think that in time, the aggressiveness/impatience will be decreased significantly, and your mindfulness of what you say and how you act will become better. All you need is time and practice. The more you understand and practice Buddhism (no matter how small) the more you'll be able to implement it into your daily life.
  • I introduce a simple attention of my breathing until that concentration is sufficiently developed to allow my practice to settle into moment to moment meditation. When I eventually find myself distracted again I automatically return to the breath attention to begin the cycle again.
    In daily life this helps give my practice inertia amidst distractions and balances both concentration with meditation and body & mind.
    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited September 2013
    In daily life this helps give my practice inertia amidst distractions and balances both concentration with meditation and body & mind.
    @how, do you mean impetus rather than inertia?

    I would agree with the return to the breath.
    You can also wear a mala, Buddha earrings (yep that is why he has long ear lobes with holes in them . . . he was a bling wearer before renunciation . . .) or a 'Buddha on a pendent' and touch these whilst reciting a quick round of mantra . . . try not to hold up the bus though . . .
    Orthodox Jews have 'Torah in a box', which they strap to themselves as a reminder.

    The principle of association, reminder and practice is a good one. In vajrayana the association is with ones lama/Yidam. Breath is with always with us, visualization is always with us and we can always wear Dharma earrings/ring - unless in a monastic/temple setting as it might distract the unholy . . . :wave:
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Have a go with the Mindfulness Bell, an android application to remind oneself to be mindful. The bell sound is very grounding - similar to the way TNH teaches his students.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.googlecode.mindbell&hl=en
    Kundo
  • @Lobster
    Either impetus or inertia will do but I meant inertia for it gives my practice a momentum through what might otherwise distract it.
  • how said:

    @Lobster
    Either impetus or inertia will do but I meant inertia for it gives my practice a momentum through what might otherwise distract it.

    My mistake.
    I understand what you are saying now. I was reading it as 'giving your practice inertia' instead of 'giving your practice inertia amidst distractions'. It sounded to my misunderstanding as if you valued being stuck . . . :crazy:
    tsk tsk, idiot crustacean strikes again . . .
    :wave:
  • karmatib said:

    Hello. I have been practicing my meditation and basically just trying to be aware of what my mind is doing throughout my day. This has not been easy because I tend to forget to practice if I am at work and caught up in fixing a problem or if i get reprimanded for something. Or if I am at home and I get frustrated because the wife wants us to cook dinner and I just want to make a bowl of cereal and not have to do all the work associated with making dinner. (I get frustrated easily and then my mood just goes dark and it is hard to pull myself out)
    So I bought a simple black wrist mala to hopefully help as a visual reminder to stay calm and be mindful of what i am doing/thinking. However I am afraid that it does not remind me as much as I would like. I guess it is just hard for me to catch my thoughts before they snowball into something negative. So I have also made my desktop wallpaper of a Buddha for work and I have posted different Buddhist quotes around my cube and places like next to my mirror for when i brush my teeth.
    Can anyone suggest more reminders I could create to help me stay mindful and calm?

    If trying to remember makes you angry, then you should try to forget.
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran
    @lobster
    Orthodox Jews have 'Torah in a box', which they strap to themselves as a reminder.
    hehehe it's Tefilin (and only the boys/men get to wear it) but I've never heard it described as "Torah in a box". My Rabbi would love it :D

    As a Jew, I have a little mezuzah pendant in it with a teeny Torah scroll in it. The mezuzah is the "crooked long box" on the doorframe with a Torah scroll in it. Jews kiss it when entering or exiting the house (or room) to remind them of God's love for them. I haven't worn it in a while, but I have it hanging in my room, both as a nod to my Jewishness and also because it's quite pretty. So in that aspect, you're description is spot on.

    In metta,
    Raven
  • @lobster
    hehehe it's Tefilin (and only the boys/men get to wear it) but I've never heard it described as "Torah in a box". My Rabbi would love it :D

    I am thinking of getting a Rabbi.

    I have an imaginary one I keep in a cupboard . . . his name is Harvey . . .
    . . . wait . . . I may be thinking of a rabbit . . .
    . . . obviously I would not keep a real rabbit in a cupboard but a real 'Rabbi in a cupboard' is like a 'priest in a confessional' or 'Buddha on a cushion', every home should have one . . .
    I believe the female version of Tefilin is Teflon, it has a non stick base . . . :crazy:
    As a Jew, I have a little mezuzah pendant in it with a teeny Torah scroll in it. The mezuzah is the "crooked long box" on the doorframe with a Torah scroll in it. Jews kiss it when entering or exiting the house (or room) to remind them of God's love for them. I haven't worn it in a while, but I have it hanging in my room, both as a nod to my Jewishness and also because it's quite pretty. So in that aspect, you're description is spot on.
    I am a terribly ignorant honorary Jew . . . I have to come on a Buddhist forum to get an education . . . typical . . . It is a wonderful thing to have a spiritual heritage. For example the most sacred place in Hindu homes is often the kitchen, where a family shrine may be. So cooking with Teflon is a religious mindful practice . . .
    Eh Ma Ho as the Tibetan Jews say.

    :wave:
    Kundo
  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    edited October 2013
    try to be mindful of every step you take in walking, mindful of the birds chirping, mindful of breath, mindful of physical sensations in the body - try just 'being' in here and now. i am not mindful most of the time , but i am suggesting you the above things to try it out. metta to you and all sentient beings.
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran
    @lobster
    I believe the female version of Tefilin is Teflon, it has a non stick base . . .
    I laughed so hard I scared my co workers and had to wipe Coke Zero off the monitor :lol:

    In metta,
    Raven
  • Can anyone suggest more reminders I could create to help me stay mindful and calm?
    Wiping the coke coated monitor mindfully will help.
    :)
    You are immersing yourself in reminders to be slower, more in the moment. I always play mantra instead of music, through earphones. Everything helps, even the distractions deserve a hug for giving us an opportunity to return to the moment . . .

    :wave:
  • ToshTosh Veteran
    I ran a hill repeat session this evening. It involves running up a hill hard and then turning around and recovering on the way down, then turning around and running back up it hard. I did this 12 times. It's pretty tough going - my heart and lungs were working really hard - and my thinking was, "Wow, this is rep four, how am I going to feel at the next rep? Even worse no doubt!", or just plain "I don't want to do this".

    So I tried to escape into the present moment and I tried to just feel how I was feeling when I was running hard. You know, it wasn't too bad. I'm breathing hard, my legs are pushing hard, I'm hot 'n' sweaty - but there wasn't anything bad in that at all.

    But then I lose concentration and I'm back to 2nd dart territory and not wanting to feel the way I was feeling or be doing what I'm doing.

    I quite understand that it's not 'this' that's the problem, it's my relationship to 'this'; my thinking around what 'this' is.

    It's a practise I guess, so I'll keep on practising. I'd prefer an enlightenment pill though.
    lobster
  • You know my wife and I were talking in bed the other night. She mentioned that she has been noticing a change in me over the past week or so. I explained to her about my mindfulness training and how I have been feeling lately. She is ecstatic about my new attitude towards everything. We were supposed to go on this journey together but she is slow to change and to be honest, I needed the change more than she does. So she has taken it upon herself to place reminders all over the house. Mostly printouts of the 4 noble truths and the 8 fold path, but she is also interested in making some different malas for me as well. I think her being happy because I am happy could be the biggest reminder for me to be mindful......
  • karmatib said:

    Can anyone suggest more reminders I could create to help me stay mindful and calm?

    @karmatib - Try this:

    Go here, download this, put it on your media player or burn it to CD and play it on repeat:

    This is a mindfulness bell track I edited from a recording of Thich Nhat Hanh's. The bell sounds, followed by 15 minutes of silence. When the bell sounds, stop whatever you may be doing and breathe in and out three times slowly, focusing on the breath. Then resume whatever you were doing.

    This is what I do at home and it is what the monastics do in Thich Nhat Hanh's Plum Village tradition. The bell goes off every 15 minutes and everyone simply stops and focuses on the breath.

    I've found it very helpful-- sort of like a mini-meditation. I think of it as a mental re-calibration when my mind gets too caught up in what I'm doing.
    EvenThird
  • Take a few deep depths and focus your intention on achieving mindfulness. Then, very slowly, start chanting the following Transcendental Mantra, performing a full prostration after each sentence.

    Yellow crocodile was mesmerizing a freudian constitution even despite the literary explosion, providing for smelly poets while preventing ostrich revolution. She said fabulously that despite mathematic viscisitudes, fascination will certainly smolder inside a saucepan of rhododendron derivatives. However, as the silver predicament climbs an impossible plain, and as a herring is the descendent of multitudes of somnabula, such a proposition is not feasible due to and also unless woderous polymorphic phosphates achieve a synergy of superconductive squalor. Be that as it may, Finland's assembly of casserole eggs presumptiously succumbed to the swell of glass kitten tails that extradited the exhuberance and flatulence inside the black hole of Everest, even forsaking the humble ones who so intrepidly procreated over billions of Macy's leather belts. Praise the Almighty Facility 21, you who are not you but neverheless an integral component of a bee hive overarching even the faintest jellifish in their petty cospompolitan sensibilities of a marginalized minority.

    Mindful yet?

  • I ran a hill repeat session this evening. It involves running up a hill hard and then turning around and recovering on the way down, then turning around and running back up it hard. I did this 12 times. It's pretty tough going - my heart and lungs were working really hard - and my thinking was, "Wow, this is rep four, how am I going to feel at the next rep? Even worse no doubt!", or just plain "I don't want to do this".
    :eek:

    I am such a woos in comparison. I did a fast walk with a few short runs today. I do like to set targets to run to.
    At the end of a run and walking again, I came across a good bunch of parasol mushrooms. which I know very well how to identify. Cooked with red onion and spinach. Mindful yum. Nearest to enlightenment pill available today . . .

    Cooking is a great way of being mindful. I tend to be very fast. Not the easiest mindful way.
    Slow, careful and lots of stirring and attention, usually better to start . . .

    When [13th-century Zen master] Dogen asked the Zen cook in the Chinese temple why he didn’t have his assistants do the hard work of drying mushrooms in the hot sun, the cook said, “I am not other people.” In the same way, we have to realize that this life is the only life we have. It’s ours, right now. If we don’t do the cooking ourselves, we are throwing our life away. “Keep your eyes open,” Dogen instructs. “Wash the rice thoroughly, put it in the pot, light the fire, and cook it. There is an old saying that says, 'See the pot as your own head, see the water as your lifeblood.’”
    http://www.tricycle.com/feature/instructions-cook-a-zen-masters-lessons-living-a-life-matters

    :wave:
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