How to Make Mindfulness Sustainable In Your Life: A Mindfulness Masterclass With Elisha Goldstein

Do you find it a challenge to sustain mindfulness in your daily life? Do you sometimes find yourself falling back into old unhelpful ways of thinking and living that don’t serve you? Even with all the mindfulness teachings and tips out there, there is very little guidance on how to really make mindfulness sustainable in your life.

That’s why I created this masterclass with Dr. Elisha Goldstein on how to make mindfulness stick in your life. During this masterclass we discuss the things that will make the most profound impact when it comes to truly integrating and sustaining mindfulness into your life. Elisha is a psychologist, author and speaker who synthesizes traditional psychotherapy with mindfulness practices.

This masterclass is short, punchy, and contains practical tips that have the power to make a huge impact on your life.

Click below to watch it now. Enjoy : )

You can also listen on SoundCloud

Elisha Goldstein has spent the last 15 years immersing himself in the world of mindfulness, and has written numerous books and articles on the topic, created programs and workshops for adults and teens, and trained therapists, educators, and business executives on how to integrate mindfulness practice into their homes, work, and day-to-day lives.

He has a real passion for this topic and has recently launched a six-month mentorship program on it. It’s called “A Course In Mindful Living”.

During this mentorship program you will work on consistently integrating mindfulness practice into daily life, step-by-step with the support of a progressive curriculum delivered by Elisha Goldsten, 13 other mentos, and a bonus 12 interviews with mindfulness experts such as Dan Harris, Dan Siegal, Sharon Salzberg.

You will also become part of an accountability group that will help strengthen and deepen your learning experience, and most importantly to ensure you develop a truly self-sustaining mindfulness practice.

This course has been built on scientifically proven methods that integrate modern science, mindfulness, compassion and years of Elisha Goldstein’s own experiential learnings. Upon completion of this course you will receive a certificate of completion from The Center For Mindful Living.

Elisha Goldstein comes highly recommended by myself, Jack Cornfield, Dan Siegel, Sharon Salzberg and many more.

If you truly want to live a more fulfilling and sustainably mindful life, I recommend taking a look at what this course has to offer and how it can support your unfolding journey into mindful living.

I have also included the transcript of the interview below. Wishing you ease and peace.

Warmly,
Melli O’Brien

Transcript

Melli: G’day Melli O’Brien here. I’m a mindfulness teacher and the co-founder and host of The Mindfulness Summit, the world’s largest mindfulness conference. Now, I wanted to connect with you today to share with you a really important mindfulness masterclass with Elisha Goldstein.

Why is this masterclass so important? This masterclass is about how to really make mindfulness sustainable in your life. I mean this is where the rubber really meets the road. Because it’s one thing to learn mindfulness. And there’s all these fancy tricks and tips out there about mindful living but when it really comes down to it, what are the things that really are going to make the most profound difference in your life when it comes to living and breathing mindfulness? That is what this masterclass is about with Elisha Goldstein.

And Elisha has a real passion for this topic. In fact, he’s put together an amazing six-month program which when I first heard about it I was really, really inspired. I’ve never ever heard of anything like this in the world. So at the end of this masterclass, I’ll share with you a little bit about what Elisha’s doing. But this masterclass – it’s short, it’s punchy and the tips that Elisha gives in this masterclass, I think, have the power to truly make a really big impact in your life. They have in mine.

So without further adieu, enjoy this masterclass with Elisha Goldstein.
Melli: First of all, why do you think it’s so difficult for people to make mindfulness stick and what can we do about it?

Elisha: This is probably the question of our time. I mean mindfulness, first of all, of course you talk about mindfulness, you’re Mrs Mindfulness. So but I’ve also been teaching and speaking about mindfulness for quite some time and also being really keen to the science and the research about what we’re noticing right now. I was also noticing that, you know, one of the things that happens in our cultures, in our societies is that people are really busy and they’re really stressed.

And one of the reasons they’re really busy and stressed and their nervous systems are so wound up is the brain’s inclination towards it’s negativity bias, which many of your listeners have heard about, that bias that we have to give more attention to the negative than the positive to survive versus being happy. Being wired to survive versus to be happy. So what happens is that string that winds us up, it’s really hard to sit and settle in. So that’s the first thing. We’re really not that good at relaxing and soothing our nervous system which really helps us settle into a mindfulness practice.

And the second thing is we’ve been kind of trained to be at this thing. Even as I was sitting here right now, I had these pop ups on here, I had to turn it over. To have this kind of continued fractured attention. So our brain is, there’s the term ‘monkey mind,’ our brain is just kind of all over the place. So what happens is, when that’s happening and a person says, “I’m just not really good at this.” the brain’s negativity shouts in, “That’s right.” And maybe you should just bounce off and give it up.

The third thing, and maybe the most important thing, is in our culture right now, because we don’t, like in the past, we used to need people – in clans, in tribes, and maybe spiritual and religious organizations – and to really survive, forage for food and stay safe from other tribal people out there.  But now we can go to the supermarket and we can buy our food. We don’t really need other people for those reasons. And we’ve built these little boxes. We stay in our little boxes, in our cars and this type of things. And because we don’t need people for that reason, we have a real lack of positive social cues around us. Meaning positive social cues are cues that of a people around us that no matter what you’re trying to do – whether it’s exercise or meditation or anything like that – when you think of them, they inspire your mind automatically to incline towards that type of practice or that type of thing. Not just people who are supportive to you but people who inspire you. And we don’t really have that many people around us that do that because we’re so separated.

And so we have a lack of social cues and we have a lack of mentorship in our culture around meditation and mindfulness. People always end up with this question. But we have a lot of really wonderful courses out there on mindfulness and there’s an overwhelming amount of books out there and even online courses and things like that. And what happens is, without somebody to regularly check in with in some way who can answer some of our questions or without a peer group around us that we’re regularly connected with, it’s really hard to sustain that practice.

Melli: Yeah and that’s been, as you we’re speaking I was just realized you know, this has been the culture in the world’s wisdom traditions has always been like that, hasn’t it? It’s been very traditional to have a place – whether it was church on Sundays in the Christian tradition or whatever it was, Buddhism, Hinduism or even just other traditions around the world that are not even religious – but places where people could go to commune together, to practice together, to connect with each other and there would usually be a teacher to sort of guide and help them. And so what you’re saying and I’m seeing that that’s true is that a  lot of people have turned away from anything that seems religious or any kind of, anything that seems like dogma or some kind of organized religion. Especially Westerners have become a little bit allergic to it. But  it seems like we’ve lost that support network around us for practice as well. I mean, mindfulness is different to religion. It’s a separate thing. But those communities and that support network is gone now.

Elisha: I mean there’s this disparate communities. And people if they want to,  but most people don’t have a community right next to, near them that they can just go visit to just sit, let’s say as an example. But if someone sits there, for example, and says “Okay, I want to think of the people around me that I spend most of my time with.” Albert Einstein had this great quote that he wrote and that was published in the New York Times years ago that said, “The sense of separateness that we have is like an optical illusion of consciousness.” And what that means is we are completely interconnected with our environment. And what that means is, when I walk into a room, when I walk into work or when I walk into home, my brain immediately scans the environment. And based on the environment and based on my mood, it makes a decision on what’s urgent or not urgent, important and not important, fair and unfair, whatever it is. And I think I’m completely in control. But our brain has implicit biases and has implicit decision-making all the time and environment plays a big role in that. And so when you think of the people around you that you spend most of your time with, and this is for all the people listening right now, how many of those people rate high as inspiring you to incline towards a mindfulness practice. Let’s say whether it’s formal or sitting meditation or it;s informal just in daily life. How many of those people, when you think of them, automatically say Yeah, I want to kind of do a little bit more of what that person is doing. I want to do more of that mindfulness stuff of that person.” Or “That person inspires me.” And most people that I ask this question to, because by the way I’ve  ask this question to hundreds and hundreds of people, the rating is like really, really low. They may have support of people around them if they’re lucky. But people that inspire them to practice, people that are also doing this practice around them that they are connected to regularly? Forget about it.

And so that is a major thing to kind of consider. How powerful it is to learn how to enrich our environments, in a way, that not only makes mindfulness simple because there’s always that phrase that, I don’t really know where it originated from. I don’t know if it originated from Jon Kabat-Zinn, I’m not really sure, but he said, “Mindfulness is really simple. The instruction is simple but it’s not always easy.” Right?

But there’s a way to make it easier. There is a way to make it easier. And it has to do with our environments. And if we can learn to enrich our environments with more cue environmental and positive social cues around us, we’re going to make this, it’s going to be easier for you to because you’re brain is going to be inclining in that direction to make the decision to “You know I think this is good for me right now.” Or, “I think I want to kind of act like this right now.” Or “this is a difficult moment. I think I’m going to incline towards self-compassion right now.” It comes automatically. A, because you practiced it maybe. But B, because your environment cues it to you. It’s powerful. It can be really powerful.

Melli: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense to me just in my own life. So it’s environment in two different ways is what you’re saying.

One, is the people that you surround yourself with and whether that’s going to incline you towards, inspire you and incline you towards practice or perhaps in some people’s circumstances they might be practicing a lot but they might be around people who are really doing the opposite. Which I think is quite common and I’ve been there. I know you’ve been there. I’ve read your story, I know you’ve been there too.

But you’re saying the other thing is like our physical environment as well. The cues that we get from our home, from our workplace, from the places we spend our time in as well is really important.

Elisha: Absolutely. So there’s two things. The environmental cues – your physical environment and also the social environment that’s around you. The social environment being probably the most impactful. And then the environment after that. You have people around you that you know inspire you but you’re in this really damp, uninspiring environment, it also makes it harder. So yeah, those two things. Absolutely.

Melli: And what do you think is the role of one’s attitude on the path to mindful living? How important is that?

Elisha: Well one of the threads that’s come to me in my life, that’s become important to me is kind of cultivating a certain type of attitude that I believe is implicit within mindfulness but maybe not talked about too much, which is the attitude of play.

Because having a playful attitude toward this allows us to not get hung up on the difficulties, not getting hooked by the negativity bias too much.

Melli: And not being too hard on ourselves too, right?

Elisha: Yeah, not being too hard on ourselves.

Melli: Because I feel like that’s quite common. I really feel like that’s like a really common thing on this path for a lot of us, myself included.You know, especially in the past, where you can take this path very, very seriously and be quite harsh on yourself when you’re not “doing it right” or that kind of thing. There can be a harsh attitude that sets in sometimes.

Elisha: Yeah, it almost brings up an implicit self-compassion, almost, just by having that attitude. But that attitude you have to cultivate it. You kind of have to practice it.  Like anything else, like piano or guitar, you can get better and better at something that precedes your own memory by just kind of practicing something.

And so to make play sort of a practice in your life can help you adopt that attitude toward mindfulness. And one thing that I’ve also found which is really fascinating is that research bears out that, mainly in mice versus people, because that’s how we can do our research which is that mice that have more integration and novelty and they’re playing more with toys and they have more people around them that they’re playing with end up having better memory and also an increased cortex which is involved with cognitive processing. Also mice that play with each other also have been shown to have an increased level of a protein in our brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor which is a protein that facilitates neurogenesis which is neural growth. And when we have a low degree of the BDNF it actually creates neural atrophy.

So play has a neurological impact as well as an impact just on our ability to that implicit self-compassion that you were talking about earlier. And I would say that fun is sort of  motivating too. So something that’s more playful, we’re more like to incline towards it.

Melli: Yeah. Absolutely. And play in itself is one of the only other things it really embodies what mindfulness is all about, isn’t it? Sort of like doing something just for the sake of doing it. You’re not doing it because you want to get somewhere else or achieve something or become more or get more, do more. It’s just being in the moment and enjoying life.

Elisha: Yeah. It’s engaging. You’re flexible. You’re engaging, flexible. You’re open. You’re adopting this attitude that facilitates learning and integration.

Melli: So by literally scheduling playtime in our lives, we learn to cultivate playful, light-hearted attitude towards the path of mindfulness.

Elisha: Yes, everyone can do that.

Melli: and life. If you could leave our viewers, our community with one or two really concrete tips, like one or two factors that you think are the most important for them to take away if they want to create true, lasting, sustainable mindfulness practice what would they be?

Elisha: I would say, look at the people around you in a way of assessing a little bit and just consider who are the people you spend most of your time with and consider on a scale of one to ten, ten being highly inspiring, one being not inspiring at all, how inspiring are they when it comes to inspiring you to do mindfulness, either formally or informally, in your life. And if you find the grade is kind of low, that doesn’t mean your friends are bad or anything like that  or your colleagues or something like that. That just means to consider in what ways can I begin to bring people into my environment who I may not even know that can serve as inspiring my brain to have implicit bias towards practice. So I would say that’s the first thing.

The second thing I would say is that while this isn’t necessary an easy practice, I want you to know that you can make this easier for yourself. And adopting that playful attitude is important. Bringing play into your life is important even though sometimes we think it’s kind of a badge  of honor to work as hard as we possibly can. That actually facilitates  learning and integration. It’s good for your brain.

And the finally I would say that it’s worth knowing that you may have quite a bit of time on this planet and that eight-week programs that you may be taking or  those types of programs can be really powerful and a good support system to begin and then it may be worth considering something longer. The reason I say that is because when you have an experience with somebody or people over time, you’re more likely to form relationships with them. And those people inevitably will become positive social cues for you and your environment. So longer programs will allow you to adopt and create naturally a community for yourself, not one you have to visit all the time necessarily although those are good as well. But one that kind of brings people onto your life through the experience of having, like maybe when you went to university or when you went to high school, you formed relationships because you are with people over time, you had experiences together over time. This is the same thing. Mindfulness can be the same thing. Longer programs can give you kind of the experience of the people over time that allow you to form relationships with both individuals and maybe also mentors or faculty or something like that,  to form a connection with them. I think that’s a recipe for a more sustainable practice of mindfulness in your life.

Melli: I hope you enjoyed this mindfulness masterclass with Elisha Goldstein as much as I did. I hope you gained as much insight from this as I did.

And I want you to consider a question now that you’ve watched that mindfulness masterclass. What could you do within the next 24 hours, what action could you take in the next 24 hours that will move you toward a more mindful life? So perhaps you can change something in your environment. Or perhaps you could take action on what Elisha spoke about with your social life. What action could you take that would support  and nourish you on your journey into mindful living.

Now the other thing I wanted to let you know about is there is a lot of support available for those of you, maybe some of you feel like you don’t have a nourishing environment, you don’t have a nourishing social life and you really don’t know where to turn.

One of the reasons why I spoke to Elisha about this topic in the beginning was because he’s really passionate about this particular area and he has created this amazing, ground-breaking online six-month program for exactly this reason, to support and nourish people over a long term towards a more mindful life, to facilitate that kind of in-depth, sustainable, long term change.

So for those  of you out there who want to know more about what Elisha is offering, his program is launching in just a couple of weeks, I think eight weeks or something like that. He does have an early bird special on at the moment. And I just want to say I recommend this program. I think Elisha is a wonderful, skillful, authentic and genuine teacher. And there’s not much that I recommend to this community but I recommend this. So for those of you who feel like this is for you, this is something you want to check out, I’ll put all the information below this video so you can have a read through.

And my friends, I am wishing you all the best on your continuing adventure into mindful living. See you next time.

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