Mindfulness is a hot topic!
From Harvard to Yoga to Buddhism to modern day educational institutions.
In fact, mindfulness just hit my personal life when I was invited to a dinner table of 8 mindful leaders for a mindful dinner with a mindfulness expert, Aaron Kahlow.
What does that even mean? We consciously relate to each other? We consciously discuss the topic of mindfulness? We practice our mindfulness during the dinner? We share our mindful revelations? We delve into radical honesty with the strength of the truth of ‘what is?’ We only talk about this present moment? We challenge each other to become more mindful? We create and embrace a ‘system’ of mindfulness to ‘scale’ mindfulness to other dinner tables around the world?
This was my first ‘mindful’ dinner so I was really excited! Yet some thought otherwise, two people left the table before talks really began. I could only speculate that being in a group of mindful individuals could have actually been to0 much of a trigger for them. Many people gain comfort in an unaware group; yet when mindfulness is put in the front of everything, it begs the question “How does that truly influence behavior and experience?”
This made me reflect deeper on the topic.
Here are some thoughts on definitions and understandings of mindfulness.
Mindfulness – The ability to observe your thoughts, words, and actions in the present moment in an objective way. One can be mindful yet be unaware. You can be mindful of your words, yet unaware of what others are thinking or doing.
Awareness – The objective ability to know what you are thinking, speaking and doing is reactive or responsive. You can have general awareness yet be low in understanding of self-awareness.
Self Awareness – The extent to which you have a knowledge of your own thoughts, values, emotions, beliefs, strengths, purpose, desires, goals, capabilities, unique talents, and motives. These are the scholastic categories of what makes up your ‘self’-awareness.
Conscious awareness - The ability to see a difference in how you would consciously or subconsciously observe your thoughts, words and actions within your self-awareness.
Consciousness – The whole of the thoughts; meaning how a paradigm allows or lends for a foundation of the thoughts. Each thought is represented in the consciousness in which you are aware. These thoughts are more than the present moment, they are from your childhood, media, education, and more. Your consciousness is something that has been developed over time.
Present Moment Awareness – In 2010, Harvard research shows on average people mind-wander 47% of the time. Presence is something to be developed and trained in our mind as it is an ‘unnatural’ way of being.
Time - Time relates to mindfulness, awareness, self-awareness, conscious awareness and consciousness, and presence. Time expands all of them.
- When you become more mindful, your moments become more meaningful.
- When time is applied in reflection to your awareness, your awareness grows.
- When time is applied to self-awareness, it only grows in reflection.
- When time is applied to conscious awareness, it helps expand your ability to gain more conscious awareness.
- When time is applied to consciousness, it is expanded into a collective versus an individual experience.
- When time is applied to present moment awareness, you melt into an infinite state of being without limitations.
Meditation- A technique to create time and space to quiet the mind, to explore the continuum of time at the same time as emptiness of self. This will expand awareness, consciousness, and present moment focus and can create an infinite source of bliss with expanded mindfulness in a continuum of time.
From a personal stand point –
I became aware in 2002 when I had a year of intense personal reflection in my first year of graduate school.
I became mindful in 2004. This was a turning point for me when I realized my awareness is constantly growing and expanding and it depends on what I focus on in which case this allows my mind to expand and grow in awareness.
My self awareness grew exponentially in 2006 during my dissertation research as it focused on self awareness.
I trained myself to live in this moment in 2006 and now I help others train themselves into present moment awareness.
I became consciously aware in 2007 when I was able to clearly differentiate between my subconscious and conscious behaviors.
What is the purpose of all this mindfulness talk?
Is it worth it?
Does it really have any benefit?
If you wanted to become more ‘mindful’ what would be the first thing you would do?
Questions upon questions in this topic area….
For now, yes, mindfulness is worth it.
Mindfulness does have benefits.
Yes, in 2014 the Scientific American published a great article on how our mind influences our body as studies show mindfulness can help influence your brain, reduce inflammation, regulate stress hormones and could even extend your life!
The American Psychological Association published research by Professors Davis and Hayes, which demonstrated empirically based evidence from 2012 including:
Reduced rumination. Several studies have shown that mindfulness reduces rumination. In one study, for example, Chambers et al. (2008) asked 20 novice meditators to participate in a 10-day intensive mindfulness meditation retreat. After the retreat, the meditation group had significantly higher self-reported mindfulness and a decreased negative affect compared with a control group. They also experienced fewer depressive symptoms and less rumination. In addition, the meditators had significantly better working memory capacity and were better able to sustain attention during a performance task compared with the control group.
cont to part 2