If you’ve been to the personal growth section of your local bookstore lately, it’s likely you’ve seen books written on the topic of mindfulness. It’s become a bit of a buzz word. The concept of mindfulness has to do with being focused, paying attention, considering your environment and the people in it when making choices for you and your life. Sounds good, right? What’s wrong with thinking about things and people other than yourself? While there is nothing wrong with mindfulness, it is not without flaws and limitation.
Mindfulness requires the individual to work hard continuously. It requires a constant state of being alert, observing everyone and everything, because the moment you stop paying attention is the moment things get missed. You practice mindfulness so you don’t miss things but the moment you lose focus you miss things so then you try harder not to miss things which only makes you miss things even more. Exhausted yet?
If you have been practicing mindfulness, you may know how much work it is to keep the level of focus that is required. If you would like something easier, something greater, I invite you to look at awareness.
Awareness is something you are born with. It is the ability to perceive and know all things. It’s the ability to be totally present with who and what is right in front of you while still maintaining awareness of the environment around you. Awareness doesn’t require you to focus only on one thing. It’s doesn’t force you to work hard to pay attention. Awareness invites it all, includes it all, welcomes it all without judging or cutting off anything.
Here are my top three tips to go beyond mindfulness and function from the gift of your awareness.
Be willing to see what is
When we are born into the world, most of us are taught to judge. We learn what is “good” and what is “bad.” We are told to do what is right and avoid what is wrong. When you have a judgment of anything, your brain only allows information that matches that judgment to enter.
Mindfulness often comes from the place of only looking to see what’s good and right with others and in the world. The problem with this, is that even though it’s positive, it’s still judgment. If there is a poisonous snake in front of you and you have decided you must only see good, then you will not see the danger that is present.
To move beyond mindfulness and into awareness, you can use a tool called “Interesting point of view.” Every time you notice that you have a judgment, whether positive or negative, say to yourself, “Interesting point of view I have that point of view.” Keep saying it until things lighten up. What occurs when you say these words is that every judgment you have becomes simply interesting rather than real and true.
Look back for a moment, at times in your life where you knew if you made a particular choice it was going to turn out badly, but you chose it anyway. That knowing was your awareness. Often times, what occurs, is we have an awareness and then we go to our brain, to our cognitive mind, to try and sort it out. This is where we give up our awareness in an attempt to get it right.
When you start to look at the places in your life where you chose to try and figure things out rather than going with that instantaneous knowing, then you start to reconnect with your awareness.
As you look at these places, it’s not about making you wrong. It’s about acknowledging what the choice to cut off your awareness created so that you can choose different as you move forward.
Awareness is the greatest gift you have and, rather than hard work and striving, awareness comes with ease. Choose awareness and discover the joyfulness of life and living.
Gary Douglas is an internationally-recognized thought leader, bestselling author, business innovator and founder of Access Consciousness®, a set of simple-yet-profound tools currently transforming lives in 173 countries. He has authored and co-authored numerous books, including the Barnes and Noble #1 bestselling novel, The Place. An avid investor and entrepreneur, Gary is a vocal advocate of Benevolent Capitalism and conscious leadership. He has been featured on TV shows, and in print media and online publications around the world. He is renowned for his unique insights on love, relationships, money, business, aging, leadership and emotional freedom. Follow Gary.
Mindfulness operates from the assumption that there are right choices and wrong choices. From the place of mindfulness, you observe, judge what is best and then choose.
Awareness has no judgment. Awareness includes everything and judges nothing. When you function from awareness you ask, “What would I like to choose?” And, “If I choose this what will it create?” Awareness is about empowering you to choose and then to notice what your choice created and then choose again.