With next-level mindfulness, you find self awareness and wisdom.
This is not an article about spirituality. This is about using a mental technique that is perfect for people who have full lives—lives that might be over-scheduled, bodies that are too tired, and minds filled with too much daily input. It’s better than a meditation practice in that it does not require you to find a dedicated time to “sit.”
Look up “mindfulness,” and you’ll see that it means a state of being that is “achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.”
Take stock of your life for a moment. Are you feeling burned-out, giving half-hearted attention to what is happening, signing up for more than you can possibly do, carving out no time for yourself, having trouble sleeping, living in pain? Do you struggle to like the people around you—or even yourself? Then it’s time to embrace next-level mindfulness.
With next-level mindfulness, you will create a version of you that sleeps better, is less cranky, and is an all-around calmer person. You will form a deeper relationship with yourself and everything around you. You will come face to face with the way you think and emote. And chances are you will get really uncomfortable with your ego on the way to inner peace. You will meet many aspects of yourself—call them “archetypes,” and I urge you to name those archetypes so you can greet them when they show up. Only then will you achieve a compassionate, mindful connection with the unconscious parts of you that are actually robbing you of peace in all aspects of your awareness.
Getting started is easy. Take one task and focus solely on that task while thinking only of it the whole way through. You could choose getting dressed in the morning, making and drinking your coffee, or taking a shower. The goal is to be totally present with all of your senses. Do you catch yourself thinking about an argument or something on your to-do list?
Name Your Selves. Who will you meet and name? Your judgmental self gets a name. Your victim self needs to be seen. Your martyr self loves a cause. The performer says all the right things but is not connecting from the heart, and your super-rational self—Ms. Always Right—needs a name, too. Don’t get too frustrated. These archetypes have served a purpose.
Back to those mindful moments getting dressed, making and drinking coffee, or taking a shower. Your mind will get bored and perhaps bring up that argument you needed to win—hello, Ms. Always Right. You’ve just met a part of you who is disrupting your mindfulness. Notice how you feel with her in your body. Where do you feel tight, angry, hot, ashamed, eager, or fired up?
This is where most people quit. “I cannot stop my mind from thinking,” they tell themselves. “I do not like these feelings.” But this is where everything gets unlocked. This is where true mindful awareness begins.
We notice what we feel when Ms. Always Right shows up. We say, oh this is what she feels like or wants me to feel. Gently acknowledge her—this is compassion—but then return to your task. If she insists on staying, you might ask her what she is really doing. What is she protecting? The emotions she brings, the physical sensations that come up, those are a part of you, but not all of you. Gently breathe and come back to your task.
Congratulations, you’ve finished a full cycle of mindfulness. You’ve also met an archetype that wants to be heard. You might give her some journal time or write yourself a note to watch out for her in the future. Do this technique next time you can’t get to sleep, experience heart-pounding anxiety, or find your stress response stuck in the “on” position. Stop and be in the moment with the emotions, in the body, and notice who shows up. What is the self saying?