Any growth path, be it growth in mental health or emotional intelligence, growth in personal development, growth in consciousness even our growth in spirituality is in essence a path of growing awareness. It is through our awareness that we experience our world. Without awareness our world becomes one of ideas, thoughts and beliefs and therefore repeating patterns. Without awareness we live in a very small and often boring world that occasionally bumps into moments of fear and even terror.
Basically there are two ways we can increase our awareness. The first is that we make a conscious choice to become more aware. So let’s imagine that something dramatic happens in your life – mostly we go into reaction, which basically means we think we know what is happening; but when we are in reaction we are coming from fear, ignorance and from our own limited belief system and naturally we are right. But instead we can slow down and ask what is really going on, what are the dynamics, what are the forces at play and how are they all interconnected? We can become a witness to the unfolding of life around us. Then life and the source of life start to reveal itself in more and more wondrous ways and that tiny pinhole we view life through begins to expand and we see creation expressing itself.
The second way we increase our awareness is by the continuous act of forgiveness. Forgiveness puts us back in the flow of life where all we need to do is stay awake and allow everything to come towards us. To refuse forgiveness is to harbour grievances and at the core of every negative life issue lays a grievance. Forgiveness frees us from a life of grievances, complaining and of being a victim. It opens our mind and increases our awareness of what is really going on for other people around us.
However there is a third element to allow our awareness to grow and that is stillness. In stillness we come back to our centre, to our core and finally to our source. Often we recommend that people who are having a troubled time go on a journey, a pilgrimage. My favourite is to journey up a river to its source, which is a metaphor of our journey back to our own source, that reconnection to what is true for each of us. For others it is helpful to take time each day to practice meditation in some form, to still us and return us to our centre, for it is from here that everything meaningful springs.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is the man considered to be the godfather of modern mindfulness. In 1979, when he was married with children and working at the University of Massachusetts medical school, he had a 10-second “vision” on a meditation retreat in the woods 80 miles west of Boston. “I saw in a flash not only a model that could be put in place, but also the long-term implications,” he says.
This is a great example amongst many thousands of how in the moment of stillness and centeredness we can receive visions of how to create major change in our world. Mindfulness is such a force for a better world and it came about in 10 seconds.
So we always have that choice: do you want to spend your life working hard to reach for goals that in all probability would bring you little if any happiness? Or do you want to grow your awareness, expand your mind and engage with a world of limitless possibilities on a magical carpet ride! And all we need to do is to stop thinking, for thinking is the enemy of experience. Didn’t you have your happiest times engaged in some form of experience rather than thinking, analysing and fantasising?
Our programme Steps to Leadership came about through a similar vision and we certainly celebratethe thousands of people it has helped. At its core it is designed to lead people towards their own visions and purpose.
Have fun today spending a little time in stillness, let that monkey of a mind we have take a break before it breaks us!!!! And if you think by spending time in stillness you are wasting your day then you could change your mind about that, and build stillness into a daily habit, before you begin to feel like you might have wasted your life.