The ability to recognize and disengage from self-perpetuating patterns of ruminative, negative thought is a core mindfulness skill. The basic tool to shift mental gears is the intentional use of attention and awareness. By choosing what we are going to attend to, and how we are going to attend to it, we place our hand on the lever that enables us to change mental gears.
When can we find opportunities to cultivate “being mode”? In principle, this mode of mind can be practiced in all situations. In being mode, the mind has nothing to do, nowhere to go and can focus fully on moment-by-moment experience, allowing us to be fully present and aware of whatever is here, right now. But the tendency to enter “doing mode” is pervasive, where the present moment is boiled down to a narrow, one-dimensional focus: “What does this have to say about my progress in reaching my goals?”