Examples might be to become a better listener, to reduce anxiety, to reduce depression, and so on. Remind yourself of these reasons from time to time, particularly when you feel that you are struggling with your practice. While grand philosophical or metaphysical purposes are not necessary to mindfulness practice, and can sometimes even hinder it, occasional reminders of more practical purposes can spark increased awareness when it is most needed. Remind yourself that you don't need recognition from others or any kind of complex self-validation in order for mindfulness to be a positive practice for you. You do not have to submit a proof to anyone, or deeply philosophize with yourself, to justify why mindfulness is "right." If the thought of training your mind interests you, simply try to begin doing it, and work on weeding out the thoughts about what you're going to "get" out of it. Practice consciously viewing your feelings differently than you have in the past. Allow them to be without passing any good or bad judgement on them. Try affirming, I accept all that I am and all that I feel as an important part of who I am! Write your feelings down. Ask yourself what you can learn from what you're feeling. It might be as simple as learning that it will not kill you to feel it, and it will pass. Think of ways you can channel your feelings into something positive or creative. Can you do something positive for yourself to balance things out? Could you put the extra energy into exercise, helping someone else, writing, painting, drawing, or playing a musical instrument? If you think of your feelings as energy, you can open your thoughts to re-channeling that energy into something productive. Unconditional Love does not grow; it is already complete and limitless. The Universe has already planted the seed of Unconditional Love in your spirit! You do not have to nurture and fortify this seed, it is already perfect. You are required, however, to ensure that the "soil" (your thoughts, feelings, and actions) that holds this seed is compatible and conducive for quantum growth and development. You are responsible for maintaining the purity of this soil and ensuring it does not contaminate or retard the growth of this perfect seed. It is your obligation to nurture and fortify the soil so the perfect seed of Unconditional Love will germinate.

However, your obligation is only gentle encouragement. This seed of Unconditional Love only knows itself. Your mission is to know this seed to such a degree that it is the only emotion and experience in your spirit. This is your higher self, this is your True Self, and it embodies all of life! Your own understanding of Unconditional Love will grow and develop as you become aware of its presence and all-consuming power. Let me ask again, "When you look at something, what do you see?" You see a reflection of your thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. You see yourself. Because what we see is a reflection of what we are, one person can be in the midst of a majestic sunset and be impervious to its tantalizing beauty, while another person may be emptying a vehicle at a local transfer station, and experience the sublime. Your thoughts define you and your life. Though you may believe that you are defined by your activity, you are mistaken. You are a culmination of your thoughts. This is the nature of anger and of being human; it is a complicated and richly poignant experience. At times, anger happens in your awarenessyou know you are angry, you know why, and you know how you express your anger. But at other times, anger happens out of awarenessyou may not even know that you are angry, much less why or how your anger affects those around you. Anger arises and is expressed through your ongoing flow of thoughts, body sensations, and the expression and actions that those thoughts and sensations command. The mental activity and physical reactions that fuel your subjective experience of being angry require a significant amount of energy too. One might say that the expression burning up with anger points us to the degree of intense energy present in the emotion of anger. And, because it takes deeply formed habit patterns of connection and communication among your mind, your brain, and your body to produce and sustain anger, I will often use the expression habit energy to refer to this energetic and habitual perspective on anger and its related feelings. Start noting each time the thought "I am" enters your mind, regardless of what follows it. The thought implies a concept of permanence, and detracts from mindfulness of the ongoing processes of change around you.

Change your mental terminology from "I am tired" to "I sense exhaustion in my muscles" or "I feel slowness in my thoughts." This shift in perception from emphasis on a permanent self to the noting of the mere arising of specific sensations has the effect of minimizing the control that those sensations have over our mental state. Minimize your sense of a permanent, unchangeable self by modifying the internal linguistic framework within which you perceive objects, sensations, and thoughts. For example, one way to do this with regard to feelings and sensations is to shift your verbiage from "I am feeling"to "A feeling of _ is present." Depersonalizing the experience of perceptions like this encourages simple mindfulness of the object, sensation, or feeling itself, rather than an excessive build-up of mental dialogue about all the ways in which the perception is impacting you. The term natural flavors is generally used to cover up ingredients the companies don't want you to know that they're using because of the dangers associated with them. Nature does an excellent job of providing nourishment for us and giving us all that we need to stay happy and healthy. Human beings feel it's necessary to improve on the things nature has to offer, and that's where the trouble with nutrition began. In a successful effort to make life more convenient and to boost sales by making foods more flavorful, food manufacturers have also succeeded in making us a much sicker nation. It's not difficult to see the effect the current American diet has had. 70% of the population is on at least one medication and that's not even counting people who are sick and not treating their illnesses. What's ironic is that the healthier the claims on the food label are, the less healthy the food generally is. Food manufacturers strip foods of their nutritional value while processing them and then add chemicals, vitamins, minerals, and flavors in an attempt to make up for what's been lost. While that might look good on the box, it causes multiple problems in our bodies. Some people spend their entire lives focused on one consuming thought or emotion, and they never see anything beyond it! This very concept is why many of our youths commit suicide; they see no escape from the drudgery of the life they have created. As humans, we tend to categorize everything we experience as either good or bad. This categorical placement is responsible for the quality of life you experience. Remember, my friend: What happens to you is far less important than how you respond to what happens to you! For instance, let us say your alarm clock failed to ring one morning. Subsequently, you woke up late and were late to work. Now, in itself, an alarm clock that fails to operate properly is insignificant.

However, your response to this event led to doubt, frustration, and disappointment. One mishap becomes the center of attention and gains a key position in a spotlight of despair and misery. With continued focus, this seemingly isolated event becomes unshake able and immovable. Moreover, everything it attracts is of the same quality. You radiate negativity and become a magnet for more negativity. Know this: like attracts like. As such, positive and uplifting ideas may enter your consciousness, but you may decide to ignore them. In doing so, you are depriving them of life and an opportunity to change who you are, and what you experience. What is your personal, subjective experience when anger visits you in the present moment? Where is it burning you up? Can you feel the anger in your body, your mind, or your relationship? Does anger erode your sense of well-being and belonging in the world? What does this emotion arise in reaction to? Do you feel disrespected, threatened, or vulnerable perhaps? What relationship do you take to the anger when it comes to you? Do you become angry at the anger, or do you feel that you become the emotionthat you are just an angry person, for example? What if you could become more aware and discover the answers to these questions? When you think about your responses to your emotions, would you like to respond differently? In short, would you like to be a different kind of person? The choice we have about our anger is the same choice we have about so many other aspects of our lives: will we turn toward our anger and seek to better understand and manage it, or will we let our habit energy of living, thinking, and acting in anger and from anger dominate our lives, actions, and the impact we have on others and our world?

When you are experiencing a moment of mindfulness of a particular feeling that is present in you, take that moment to remind yourself to be mindful of that same feeling in others as well. Learn to go beyond viewing only the outward physical behaviors of others, and be mindful of how such behaviors are the results of feelings that are arising and disappearing, just as they are for you. Mindfulness of the feelings of others, and how such feelings condition their behavior, makes us more inclined to be equally mindful of those feelings and their impacts in ourselves. Likewise, just as mindfulness of the feelings of others can lead to improved mindfulness of our own feelings, so too can a refined mindfulness of oneself lead to better awareness of others - the benefits operate in both directions. Shift your emphasis from mindfulness of concepts to mindfulness of sensations. Take sitting in a chair, for example. Mindfulness at the level of "I am sitting in a chair" is essentially just awareness of the concepts of self and chair. "This chair makes me feel relaxed and brings me pleasant feelings" or "I feel annoyance arising because I can't get comfortable in this chair" are increased levels of mindfulness and help to highlight the interplay between physical and mental conditions, thereby sharpening the awareness of both. Learn to label simple, everyday sensations with one of three feelings that they may bring about: pleasantness, unpleasantness, or neutrality. As with other types of mental labeling, this practice tends to strip away any extraneous concepts that may have been added to the simple sense perception. To the degree possible, when experiencing unpleasant sensations, try to practice simple mindfulness of the presence of the sensation itself. Shift your mind away from thoughts of making the sensation go away, wondering where it came from, wondering why you are experiencing it, despairing over the unfairness of it, and so on. Instead, simply focus your awareness on it and understand "there is an unpleasant sensation." Try to eliminate the idea, and the phrasing in your thoughts, of something or someone "making" you feel a certain way. This mindset subtly ingrains the idea that we do not possess any control over the feelings that arise in our consciousness. Instead of thinking that you are being made to feel a certain way, you can think in terms of the simple phrase of "(whatever feeling) is present." With this idea eroded, we can be more mindful of the feeling itself, and be confident that we have the faculties to move on from it if we feel that it is overwhelming us. Have you ever done something and didn't even realize what you had done because you accomplished it subconsciously? You were not in the moment. You were going through the motions of a physical routine, but you did not have your mind and soul in the activity. You were not experiencing what you were thinking. Another example I am certain you can relate to is being in class or a meeting and thinking about the upcoming weekend or the previous night with your partner.