How Do You See Your World? A Glimpse into Mindful Awareness
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By Cassie Schindler, guest contributor
Your unique perspective, or the lens through which you view your life, influences your current state of mind and overall experience of balance and wellness.
So, how do you see your world?
We humans are creatures of habit. We automate in order to be the most efficient version of ourselves, and in doing so, we inadvertently paint our moments with the same brush. History repeats itself, over and over, and we often miss the big picture, and simply miss out.
After we spend some decades on the planet, outdated beliefs and disempowering patterns that we (and our culture) reinforce from as early as childhood can blur our vision, cause us to form rash assumptions, and react unskillfully to the everyday stressors that we all encounter. On top of that, there is the noise and busyness of life and we don't spend the time and effort to sort out what’s working for us and what’s not. We’re left wondering how we can unlearn negative thought patterns and respond skillfully to each moment.
What if there was a way to put on a new pair of glasses that would bring about clarity, observation without judgment, and a glimpse into our operation systems? There is, and it’s not new.
Perhaps you’ve heard a lot about the ancient practice of mindfulness in recent years, but may still be confused as to its real meaning and worth. Let’s keep this simple; mindfulness is the practice of (re)directing your moment-to-moment attention from thought clutter to what’s really happening in any given moment.
The opposite of mindlessness, mindfulness invites us to retreat from rumination (past thinking), and worrying (forward projection), and instead reside in the now – which is truly the only moment we have for certain.
Mindfulness and awareness training (sometimes referred to as mental fitness), allows you to see more clearly, to step back and observe patterns and the whole picture, not just its individual parts.
With practice and a bit of discipline, you may begin to step in and out of a slightly different reality than the one you were so convinced was finite and static.
In Book Three of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Coming to Your Senses series, The Healing Power of Mindfulness: A New Way of Being, we explore the concept of orthogonal reality or rotating in consciousness.
This phrase, coined by Jon in the late 70s after creating the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR), describes an alternate way of seeing that has the potential to open your eyes to a new way of being.
The following is an excerpt from The Healing Power of Mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn:
It is all a matter of what we are willing to see or reflexively ignore, how reflexively we are willing to berth our momentary perceptions at the dock of the habitually inattentive, secured by stout lines of really-not-looking-but-pretending-to-yourself-that-you-are rope.
When you have an experience of rotating in consciousness so that your world all of a sudden does feel bigger and more real, you are catching a glimpse of what Buddhists refer to as absolute or ultimate reality, dimensionality that is beyond conditioning but that is capable of recognizing conditioning as it arises. It is awareness itself, the knowing capacity of the mind itself, beyond a knower and what is known, just knowing. And interestingly, it is already here and already yours.
Many of us have made attempts to enact positive change (including adding meditation to our daily schedules), only to be thwarted by ingrained patterns, negative thinking, and mind traps that derail our progress.
Consider the implications of formal and informal mindfulness and meditation practices that in time help to diminish assumption-making and over-reacting, increase self-love and care, and heighten physical and emotional well-being.
The path to freedom from unhealthy mindsets and a limited perspective is just around the corner.
When should you take the first step on this path?
Actually? There is no better time than the present.
Cassie is an instructor for our MBSR course. Click here to learn more and view upcoming classes.
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