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Mindfulness Theories & Practices #16: Life’s Punches

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” (Heavyweight Boxing Champion “Iron” Mike Tyson)

Metaphorically speaking, what will happen to “your plan” when life “punches you in your mouth?” What will you do when “things fall apart”? How will you respond at that moment of “absolute recoil?” How will you “ground” yourself when the earth moves beneath your feet?

A meditation practice helps provide answers to these questions.

Maintaining a meditation practice is like engaging in emergency planning exercises to deal with life’s exigencies. It is like conducting “fire drills” so that when the real alarm sounds, we know what to do. It is like doing “scenario planning” so that when the unexpected happens, we can rely on our already developed “memories of a future.”

In a meditation practice, we (i) give ourselves the opportunity to develop our skill at “internal rebounding” (our skill at being resilient); (ii) develop and enhance our capabilities to respond effectively to the unexpected; (iii) acknowledge “the dissonance” the “unplanned for” can cause and how we might rebound from its effects;” (iv) practice our skill at “Internal adjusting (our skill at self-regulation); (v) cultivate our capacity to regulate impulses regardless of emotional responses brought on by the unexpected; and (vi) create coping strategies and techniques that ensure we can adapt, survive, and thrive amid risk and uncertainty.

In a meditation practice, we practice rebounding and adjusting “on the cushion” where we strengthen our ability to be resilient so that when one of life’s punches lands, we may get “knocked,” but we won’t get “knocked out.” After the impact, our sense of overall well being will remain intact.

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