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Mindfulness: Being Present, Aware, and Connected To Our Inner Life
Posted: 5/20/2014 | Spiritual Growth Comments
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(Adapted from my multiple award-winning book, Your Ultimate Life Plan: How to Deeply Transform Your Everyday Experience and Create Changes That Last)

A traditional mindfulness practice asks us to watch whatever arises in our experience. To do this requires three main things: being present, being aware, and being connected to our inner life.

Mindfulness asks us to focus attention on the present moment,
on anything inside or outside of us. When mindful, we notice and observe sensations, thoughts, feelings, sights, sounds, and smells without rejecting or attaching to them. It cultivates the observer in us that notices habitual responses, bringing us closer to our actual experience, not our story about it. We learn to be with whatever comes up in each moment, the best we can. And when we can’t, we do our best to be with that, too!

When we’re truly present,
we bring the fullness of our being—an awareness of all four dimensions of consciousness: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual—into this moment, this now. When we’re present to each moment, seeing life for all it is, it’s easier to open to our own joy and pain, and then we can open our hearts more fully to the joys and struggles of others. We’re better able to see and feel the world around us: our family, our community, our environment, our fellow humans, the planet, and beyond—and not just our own projections and historical distortions. As we practice being present, we strengthen our ability to be with whatever shows up. We can hold the paradox of allowing life as it is, while being a more active participant in the co-creation of our life.

In my book, Your Ultimate Life Plan, I take the idea of mindfulness deeper. Being present in the moment not only means facing whatever arises, rather than trying to avoid or skip over it, but also means looking at things from many perspectives, and not just the obvious one. It means being willing to stay with an issue that’s arising, allowing and encouraging it to shift, until there is some insight or movement. It means fully facing our life, inside and out, knowing that our outer life continually gives us clues about what we need to be with next inside of us.

As we open to living more mindfully,
we come closer to seeing the truth, not just our projections. Our awareness helps us own all of who we are, and know what’s happening inside of us, outside with others, and the difference between the two. We have a better take on what occurs in life. Our aware¬ness allows us to be more understanding and loving.

As we pay attention,
we also become aware of what we don’t know, opening ourselves to the essential mysteries of life. There’s always more to discover and learn, a myriad of ways we can grow and change. Life is so wonderful, and we develop a wider opening to the heart of ourselves and life. Our awareness keeps us curious, and our curiosity keeps us seeking truth. It gives us momentum to grow, allowing us to tolerate and embrace the unknown. When we’re aware, we cultivate the space of not-knowing, along with the willingness to know.

Mindfulness is more than a practice; it’s a way of being. We can be more mindful in every moment and all our activities, such as making decisions, washing the dishes, driving, or standing in line at the bank. Mindfulness allows a larger point of view, because we’re observing what’s happening, rather than being mindlessly caught in those old stories we tell ourselves. This opens us beyond our ordinary perception. We can see, in the moment, the constant repetition of thoughts and feelings in response to our experience. Mindfulness keeps us attentive to life and helps us respond more consciously because we’re better informed.

How have you used mindfulness in your life?

Please share your thoughts.
Your comments make a difference for us all.

For further information on accessing the wisdom, happiness, fulfillment, and peace you desire, click here to learn about Dr. Howard's Multiple Award Winning Book "Your Ultimate Life Plan: How to Deeply Transform Your Everyday Experience and Create Changes That Last.




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