The Attitude of Non-Striving

When we practice Mindfulness, we can intentionally cultivate one of 7 foundational attitudes.  This week we’ll explore Non-Striving

Non-striving can seem like a tricky mental posture in our goal-oriented world, but Jon Kabat-Zinn puts it this way,

Mindfulness is never about doing something perfectly because it is not about doing or accomplishing at all. It is about allowing things to be as they are, resting in awareness, and then, taking appropriate action when called for. Silence, deep listening, and non-doing are often very appropriate responses in particularly trying moments — not a turning away at all, but an opening toward things with clarity and good will, even toward ourselves. Out of that awareness, trustworthy skillful responses and actions can arise naturally, and surprise us with their creativity and clarity.”

Non-Striving does not imply not doing, not trying, or being passive. Indeed, encouraging ourselves to move past our comfort level to achieve an outcome can be highly rewarding. It is possible though to be earnest and persistent in our efforts towards reaching goals without straining for results to conform to our preconceptions.

Most activities and behaviors are not helped by rushed force. Meditation, cooking, creating art, relaxing, gardening is generally fouled when we try to pressure or manipulate a particular outcome.  Even struggling to change someone’s mind can further intrench them in their opinion.

Striving can interfere with our ability to be open to input, inspiration, insight. Non striving leads to trust in the process and outcome allowing life to unfold in its own time.

You can’t rush a 3-minute egg, a painting, or a sprouting plant. But if you start from an interior place of just Being instead of so much Trying, you can experience elements of surprise, adaptability, resilience, and confidence. 

This week let’s rest in that awareness so that we can move forward more skillfully.

Lisa Wellington is a Certified Mindfulness Teacher who writes about integrative practices that downshift stress, increase insight, and jumpstart joy.

She is best known for her work with law enforcement professionals as well as those challenged by housing instability and addiction. Trained in the Fine Arts at Washington State University, she specializes in group training that engages participants’ inherent creativity.

If she is not under a stack of books about psychology and spirituality, she can be found at a Puget Sound beach or nearby trail, always searching for the absurd, which is her superpower. 

One thought on “The Attitude of Non-Striving

  • May 6, 2022 at 2:16 AM

    Really appreciated this today. Thanks.


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