Awareness and Mindfulness
Last time, I talked about awareness and said that mindfulness and awareness are interconnected, but I didn’t go into detail. So here we are…
Simply put, mindfulness is living in the present moment. It’s about minding our minds. Not in a way that consumes us but in a way that frees us. Mindfulness practice is a way of learning to let our wandering mind just wander and not get caught up in the dialogue. When we practice mindfulness, we are able to be present in the pause between the past and the future. A space between, so to speak. But so often, we spend time reviewing the past and anticipating the future and do not pause for that fleeting moment of now. The significance of that one moment is well described by Michael Singer,
“If it took 13.8 billion years for the moment in front of you to get there, and it took 13.8 billion years for you to end up in front of that moment, every moment is indeed a match made in heaven. Nobody else is standing there experiencing exactly what you're experiencing. Truth is, no one ever did, and no one ever will. That exact moment will never be here again. All moments just keep passing through time and space. You are being given a unique show that took billions of years to create—it's right in front of you, and you're complaining about it.”
- Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament
Mindfulness is about letting the internal dialogue of our mind just carry on and not giving it much attention. You can listen and give attention to your mind, or you can just let the dialogue continue and savor this one unique moment in time that is yours.
It is interesting when I work with clients and ask them to journal the dialogue in their minds. When they do, they report that once it is in the journal, it is simply the same old shit over and over again! In our heads, it seems like it is new or a variation of the old each time we let it take up our air space and we give our thoughts great importance! We judge ourselves and our world based on that dialogue. We listen to the arguments, the pros, and cons in our mind… again, Michael Singer,
“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind - you are the one who hears it.”
- The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
Awareness is about what is going on around us. There is also self-awareness, which is inner-focused and part of the larger world of awareness. When doing an awareness exercise, self-awareness is part of the process, but it is also about the world around us, what we notice about the events and people in our day, and our reactions and actions to those events. The exercise also guides us toward unraveling some of our outdated beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world around us.
“This is the nature of almost all your automatic thoughts. They are not to be seen as some important truth or great insight into what is really going on. They are simply your mind attempting to cleanse the patterns you have stored in there.”
- Michael Singer. Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament
Mindfulness and Awareness go together. One enhances the other. When we are able to be in the moment, our awareness of the world is increased. When we are aware of the world around us, we become more mindful.
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