THE BLOG
09/09/2013 03:58 pm ET Updated Nov 09, 2013

Feeling Grumpy? A Mindfulness Practice to Help You Get Out of Your Grumpy Pants

When I am rushing through my life, consumed with everything I have to attend to, it becomes more and more likely that I will miss what is available to me. I notice that when I move through the world at this pace, I tend to do what a friend calls 'wearing my grumpy pants.'

...It's difficult to practice being mindful and experience grumpiness at the same time. Mindfulness generates a slower speed and is, I think, an antidote to grumpiness. -- Dr. Edward Viljone, The Power of Meditation: An Ancient Technique to Access Your Inner Power

If you have been reading my writings for any time, you know that I am a true believer in the power of meditation and especially mindfulness which is, in itself, a form of moving meditation. As I was reading my friend, Edward Viljone's new book, The Power of Meditation, he really hooked me with the aforementioned quote. It always amazes me when I catch myself not practicing what I preach. Upon reflection, like Edward, there are times when "certain" people in my life ask me if there is something wrong because I am being a bit "grumpy." In response I will generally react by saying, "No! I am not in a grumpy mood... I am just very busy... Or, very tired... Or, a combination of both, busy and tired." Fortunately, this doesn't happen all that often, but nonetheless, in hindsight I can see that I must have a pair of "grumpy pants" hanging in my closet that I unconsciously slip on at times. The good news is, as Edward writes, there is an antidote for grumpiness and I think its worth exploring.

Has anyone ever called you "grumpy" and you had no idea what they were talking about? Just to confirm we are all on the same page, the dictionary defines grumpy as, "surly or ill-tempered; discontentedly or sullenly irritable; grouchy." If you can relate with any of the aforementioned adjectives (or, if you know someone -- wink, wink -- who fits any of these descriptions) raise your hand now! If you find that you, from time to time, unknowingly slip on your "grumpy pants," the likelihood is that your mind is somewhere other than where your body is in that moment. It might have been that you are just not having a good day because of a poor night's sleep and your mind is lethargically dragging behind your body. Perhaps things aren't going the way you would prefer in a business transaction that hurls your mind frantically into the frenetic future. Then again, it could simply be that you have so much on your plate your mind becomes splintered and goes riding off in multiple directions all at the same time. If these sorts of things don't bring out the grump in you, it's safe to say you have probably mastered the art of mindfulness, which is the practice of consciously merging your being with your doing in every present moment.

To give you a visual example of what mindfulness looks like, consider this image. With pen and paper, draw a long horizontal line. Consider that line as your "doing" whatever it is you do that moves forward from left to right, linearly, moment to moment, hour to hour, and day to day. Then draw a vertical line that intersects with the horizontal line and think of that vertical line as your "being." Consider any point on the horizontal line to the left of the vertical line as the past and anything to the right the future. Now draw a small circle around the point where the two lines intersect. Think of the inside of the circle as the present, where your being merges with your doing. To consciously live inside that small circle is called the practice of mindfulness.

To spiritualize this practice is to witness the true self (your being) vertically ascending from the depths of your spiritual core and becoming fully present in that circle as it moves along the horizontal pathway of your life. In this context, mindfulness means that you are aware that you are more than the experience at hand on the surface of life. You are the essence of that which is ascending from the sacred center of your true self. This awareness alone will dissolve all sense of grumpiness because with it comes reverence, which is the act of making all that we think, say and do a sacred practice. As my friend Edward infers, it's pretty difficult to wear your grumpy pants while in the midst of having a spiritual experience -- which is exactly what mindfulness is when we remember the presence of the self is always there in the moment -- one breath -- one sacred second at a time.

Is mindfulness as a way of life challenging to practice? Sure it is. That's why it seems many people spend a lot of time in their grumpy pants. They are not even aware they are wearing them. I for one, have not mastered it yet but I am more successful today at living in that small circle where my being and my doing merge than I was yesterday. The good news is, while I am sure they are still hanging somewhere in the back of my closet, I have not had my grumpy pants on since reading Edwards' book. That, my friends, is the power of meditation -- and, more specifically, one of the greatest forms of meditation in motion: mindfulness. If this topic strikes a chord with you, I recommend you give Edward's book a read. You might also be more inclined to let your grumpy pants hang in the back of your closet.

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