How do you want to evolve?
This is the question I ask people in my office. You want to become more creative? You need to cultivate openness and inquiry. You want to be less reactive? You’ve got to be informed about the pause between stimulus and response. Whatever you want to shift, you first have to know what is getting in your way. To do that, you need to access your unconscious. There are different ways to work on that, but today I’m going to tell you about mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a type of systematic mental training that expands self-awareness and self-regulation. Mindfulness allows us to engage our capacity to override self-focused needs to spend more time engaged with useful parts of ourselves.
Here’s your prescription: Designate five minutes a day to become aware of your thoughts. You can do this while sitting, standing, walking, or lying down. Really. Sit quietly, or don’t sit. Stand, handstand, whatever… just make sure you can be still for five minutes.
Close your eyes or focus on something that’s not distracting. Breathe in and out. That’s it. Nothing else. Watch your brain think. No seriously, just watch. Watch it turn incoming signals into thoughts. A car horn becomes an angry thought. An itch becomes an irritation. Repeat for five minutes.
Observe the inclination to label things positive or negative. Can you manage five minutes without judging? Can you observe without affirming or denying? Trust me, it’s harder than it sounds. For most of us, we run through our days constantly tagging things good or bad, positive or negative, yay or nay. It’s curiously difficult to just notice how things are.
Here’s why this is important: The assignment of meaning keeps us stuck in the rut of seeing everything through our ego. The more the ego is quieted, the more likely we are to reach our goals. When we soften our habitual way of looking at the world, the more creative, balanced, and integrated we become.
And from there, you can soar.
So go on, designate five minutes a day, everyday, for a week. For the super gung-ho, do it for the month. Notice what you notice and as my teacher would say, “have that.”