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The Sound of Silence

By Philip D.

October 31, 2010

Week Two

Non Judgment -- objectively observing any experience remaining impartial without labeling thoughts, feelings or sensations as good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair.

Fell off the mindfulness wagon for a couple of days. I regressed back to my old ways, becoming involved in a complex project over the weekend, and found it hard to start up again. I discovered why I've kept both my mind and my body so busy, particularly since testing HIV positive. But instead of judging myself like I normally might, I simply noticed my discomfort around feeling emotions and gave myself space until I was ready to begin again on Tuesday.

Am continuing my morning and evening rituals of the Mindful Check-in, Mindful Breathing and in the mornings mindfully showering and eating before I even look at emails and the day ahead. Then usually, all hell breaks loose but at least I start off in a way that feels respectful of me.

Introduced the Fifteen-Minute Mindful Meditation into my daily Practice this week. I truly believe this is a key component to retraining my thought process. Each day I tried to sit and be present by focusing on my breath for 15 minutes Contrary to popular belief, the goal in Meditation is not to empty my mind because ... well ... that's next to impossible. Rather, as I focus on my breathing, simply acknowledging any thoughts as they appear but remaining unattached, letting them pass without judgment and returning my focus to the breath. Easy? Hell no, it's hard. Liberating? Like you wouldn't believe.

I'm noticing my rapidly decreasing desire to watch TV or to have "something" playing in the background when I'm alone. Strangely, the chatter I usually hear in the back of my head seems to be becoming quieter. I dare say silence is sounding better than ever before.

As I strived to weave Mindfulness through my daily life, I became increasingly aware of how frequently I'm pulled into the past and into the future. I admit, much of it is my doing by scheduling and completing more than 1,500 appointments every year just to earn my living but much of it comes from existing in a world where asking "what did you do last weekend?" or talking about the next big vacation or event is preferred over, "How are you feeling today?" After all, how many Facebook pages do you find that contain the owner's "emotional status?"

Concentrating on the Attitude of Non-Judgment this week, I have come to understand that the voice that I hear from the moment I open my eyes in the morning until my head hits the pillow at night, playing both judge and jury, is a culmination of perhaps every voice I've ever heard except Philip's. This week, each time I wanted to label or judge something around me, I asked myself, whose voice was I listening to: theirs or mine?

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See Also
A Beginner's Mind
More on Meditation Techniques

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A Positive Spin

Philip D.

Philip D.

After testing HIV positive in 2007, I promised myself that I would make something "good" from all that I was handed. From the very beginning, each time I was presented with an obstacle or challenge, I also received some help. Usually in the form of a person, sometimes an opportunity; but I have grown so much, it has made it impossible for me to call the past few years "bad." Although I've never written much of anything before, I have been so incredibly fortunate, I feel like I must pay it forward somehow. Maybe by sharing my experience, it will help those starting later in the game, on the fast track to HAART, or anyone that's feeling a bit isolated or "stuck" with their diagnosis.

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