Beyond Mindfulness Journal – Week 7

Mala Mathew  •  Oct 18, 2021  •  7 min read

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Beyond Mindfulness Journal – Week 7

The following is the eighth, and last, installment  in a weekly series of reflections from one of our learners in the Beyond Mindfulness program. Each week, Noopur will recap her personal experience to give insight into her journey towards a more aware and intentional life. If you’re ready to start your journey in mindfulness, please get in touch. We’re here to help.

The Journey so Far

Hello lovely people!

How are you doing this week?

I am doing well, just letting everything I have learned so far sink in. But I think the knowledge I have gained is more like tea that needs to be steeped to get richer flavours.

The last six weeks have been a journey within, a journey beyond, and a journey in between the two. To write today’s blog I revisited all my notes, and things I had written over the weeks to be able to tie everything together.

Few things that came to my mind when I was doing so was:

  • They need to be applied every single moment.
  • Even as I was reading things, my perspective was becoming more birds-eye compared to seeing things from my personal perspective.
  • The number of questions I started with and the answers I have found on the way.
  • How often do I need to revisit these concepts, for them to become part of my daily life?

I think even when I started the program, I was not very clear about what ‘Beyond Mindfulness’ really meant. I thought it was a more meta way of approaching what we so commonly know about mindfulness. But each week felt like peeling layers of current understanding of being and finding new ones. I will not discount what I have learned previously, but I do feel my understanding of mindfulness has expanded a lot.

Each week had its own set of struggles, confusions, and questions. I feel I completely finished reflecting on the questions from week one and new questions would get added. There were times when I really found it hard to formulate my thoughts in writing because everything felt so abstract and answering those abstract questions felt like drawing lines in thin air.

But I am very pleased with my learnings during this journey and would like to share what has changed, evolved, and transformed.

Intention

My intentions have transformed over the last 6 weeks and one thing I surely take back is the word ‘whole’. The wholeness of myself, situations, wholeness of our thoughts, of the planet we live in.

Healing means feeling whole, but I feel an aspect of healing is also seeing things as a whole. We are so used to seeing things in isolation that we decide to label and put them in the boxes of good or bad, right or wrong, and what never gets looked at is all the grey that is between these two ends. It’s easier to see the whole picture in things when I am not in it. But it becomes very hard if I am in the moment or at times even after something has happened, it becomes difficult to let go of my narrative and see the bigger picture. This is why I want to make sure this is an intention and I can keep working on it.

Accepting Emotions

This one has been a tougher one for me. But I feel what has changed is my willingness to not turn away from emotions that I felt were uncomfortable.

Writing these blogs week after week made me want to procrastinate so much because writing has never been comfortable for me. But here I am writing this blog, making sure I deliver it on time and face my fears, and sit with all the discomfort that it brings up for me. I notice how much more truthful I am about myself to myself. And it is a wonderful feeling to know that I can create this safe space for myself.

Who am I?

Recently, I have noticed myself playing this game with myself. I ask myself what if I was a dog, or a stone or the person I recently argued with, with their experiences and the life they have lived, how would I act then? It isn’t like it does something, it just helps me really wear the other person’s shoes and understand their standpoint. I might not agree with what they are saying or what they are doing but I can see where they are coming from much better.

Self-compassion and Forgiveness

This is another one that doesn’t happen easily at all but I am learning. Learning to forgive me, especially when I have not done things according to my own expectations or when I have behaved in a way, that I could have avoided, leads to a lot of self-inflicted feelings and narratives that wake my inner-critic. The inner battle goes on for a while. I then let my critic say what it has to, and I forgive it, because that is the only way my inner critic knows to be. If I am talking about wholeness, I need to see different sides of me as contributing to the whole too. I need to learn to embrace my inner critic. I might not always like it but then again I need to remember that my inner critic is doing what it does best and I just need to practice acknowledging it and let go.

Autonomy

We live in a time where the amount of information at our disposal is the highest compared to any point in time in history. Learning about autonomy made me think about the things I want to resonate with. But at the end of the day, I will have to find my own truth. I will have to learn to let go of perceptions of myself to find myself. Truly finding what is holding me back, what are the patterns I have adopted to survive. Who is the Noopur who is alive in me right now, this is going to be a lifelong search.

Collective Consciousness

This one needs to be repeated the most. No matter how significant I believe myself to be, in the larger scheme of things, everything is just an experience that I need to learn from and move on. The understanding that I exist to learn from others and impact others through my presence and I don’t need to be anything extra or do anything extra is all that I need to remember. If there is anyone who can teach us about existing, it is nature. A flower doesn’t bloom for us. We admire it but that doesn’t change the way it blooms. That is the way I want to learn to live. In complete harmony with things around me. This really requires a lot of shedding and I hope I can do it.

Playing and Being

I think understanding the importance of play, that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them and be curious about things, has been a beautiful learning experience. The fact that all beings on this planet are naturally playful and all learnings stem from it is big learning I am taking back—and the reminder about effortless effort, especially when it comes to being a human. I don’t need to seek approvals, I can still survive if people change, don’t like me, don’t think like I. This ideology has not only made me feel light but also very free. It is a reminder that no matter what comes my way. I can survive.

Rinse and Repeat

Now that I know the aspects of things I want to work on, it all boils down to forgive myself each day, moving forward, and rinsing a.k.a letting go of what has not worked, and repeat what I am doing right. I must focus on unlocking new levels of understanding and practice with passing time.

Thank you for being such wonderful listeners. I have thoroughly enjoyed reflecting, learning, and sharing my learnings with you all.

Signing off till we meet again!

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Mala Mathew

Mala

Mala Annamma Mathew is an educator specializing in media and digital literacy for young students. Currently, she is pursuing her second master’s degree in Digital Media: Education, at University College London, the number one (according to Top University Ranking) university for education-related degrees in the world. She has over 8 years of experience in education and is also an examiner for the International Baccalaureate.

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