At the beginning of my events, I remind participants that there’s “no right or wrong experience when it comes to mindfulness because mindfulness is about remembering how to trust our own natural experience, whatever that may be.”
It’s not about feeling relaxed. It’s not about feeling compassionate. It’s not even about enjoying it. It’s about authentic belonging in ourselves, meeting whatever we experience with gentle openness and playfulness and trusting that it’s OK, just as it is. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to experience – despite what we’ve perhaps been led to believe.
You may be invited to take part in a mindfulness exercise in the same way that you may be invited to interview for a job or go on a date. It’s then up to you to listen to how you respond, and to trust that whatever that is, it’s perfectly OK. It’s neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong. It’s just your own unique experience and not something you’re responsible for.
Perhaps what we are responsible for is being receptive to this experience and responding in a way that honours it? Who knows what may then be revealed?
Trusting yourself means that you are your only teacher. Not me, not the guru you met, not anyone else. Just you. And the same applies for everyone else too.
It sounds simple doesn’t it? It’s even a bit of a cliche – “Come on, trust yourself, follow your gut feeling”. Yet how do we know how to trust ourselves when so much has been set out for us all already – consciously or not, by others?
For most of us, trust is a real challenge. Yet what if it were vital if we are to bring forth a happier, more peaceful and sustainable world, where we rekindle our natural sense of belonging and interconnectedness?
So, why is trust so difficult? Well, there’s our experience unfolding… and then there’s the harsh, highly trained, internal storyteller’s view on our experience which we’re all familiar with…
“Am I doing the right thing?”
“Should I feel more relaxed?”
“Why do I feel like this?”
“Is there something wrong with me?”
“What will they think of me if I do this?”
“I shouldn’t be feeling like this, does this make me a bad person?”
And many more…
Where do these stories come from? Do they come from that deeply natural, embodied part of us that just knows beyond words? Or are they recorded soundbites a teacher, friend, family member and wider society as a whole shared with us?
Trusting ourselves isn’t ridding ourselves of these stories, but noticing them for what they are and groundtruthing them with our own experience.
We may begin to see how some of them (and resulting behaviours) are borne out of fear and desire for control: fear of doing things wrong, fear of failure, fear of making mistakes.
Trusting ourselves isn’t easy; it requires willingness and vulnerability to experience the intensity of aliveness in full, celebrating the joys and welcoming and growing from the pains. It also often requires going against the “norm” to belong within ourselves.
Moreover, trust merely opens up more mysteries and questions, but isn’t that the beauty of this life? Could we not welcome these ever-changing mysteries playfully, the way we did when we were children – with wonder and curiosity?
If we moved through our lives from a place of trust, instead of a place of fear, what may then emerge? How would we relate to ourselves, others and to the rest of the world?
What if we all gave it a try?
For some practical ideas on how to develop more trust in ourselves check out this blog.