“Mindful awareness creates a kind of work space, a place in the mind where we can see and deal with our automatic habits. It’s like a private, cozy room where we can read and reflect on the most personal passages in our diary.” – Tara Bennett-Goleman
One of the things I’m doing this spring is re-focusing on my practice of mindfulness. As a longtime journal keeper, I absolutely love this quote. Creating a space like this in your mind is so very key to living a fulfilling life. It reminds me of another favorite quote of mine:
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Plato
What does this mean? Basically, if you’re not allowing yourself the time and space to reflect on your life, you’re on autopilot. When that happens, you’re still making choices, but not in a conscious way. It might feel easier in the short run, but in the big picture, you’re not focused on fulfilling your life’s purpose.
If you’re not sure what that purpose might be, you’ll be aimless and lost. It’s time for a quest, to seek out your passions and find the things that light you up. If you already know your purpose – or purposes – then you’ll have that sense of dissatisfaction and disappointment that comes from denying yourself deep joy. Mindful awareness will help you find what you seek.
Using mindfulness as a tool to work toward deeper fulfillment requires three basic things (don’t worry, you can learn them as you go).
1. The courage to be true to yourself, no matter what. Being your authentic self takes a certain amount of bravery. It’s not something we’ve been taught to do. The first step is having the guts to go for your dreams.
2. The perseverance necessary to commit to your practice. I’ve learned over the years that practice is the most magickal word in our language. Anything that you care about, want to achieve, or truly desire will require practice. It isn’t always fun. What does it look like? Returning again and again to your breath as you practice mindfulness meditation. Practicing your art, craft, or skill over and over again, day by day, sometimes seeing progress, but other times being stuck on some sort of plateau. Tending your relationships with friends, family, and beloveds, through all the drama and crises as well as the joyful times. Practicing gratitude even on days when you feel like there’s nothing good under your personal raincloud.
This leads to the third need:
3. Patience. Getting stressed out over your lack of progress, or being angry when you fail, just isn’t helpful. Yet we all do it. Being patient with yourself makes doing the hard work much more enjoyable.
Being mindful is a universal tool that you can apply no matter where you are on your life’s path. It will help you to develop more of these three things, which feeds back into your mindful awareness, creating an increasing upward spiral of momentum. Giving yourself space for mindful awareness will help you make the best choices for you, and enable you to regroup more quickly when you stray from your own path. It will be a helping hand when you fall down, and can get you through the toughest times.
Summon your courage and get started today. Stop what you’re doing and breathe into the moment. Let your thoughts drift by without attachment, and listen for that inner whisper of intuition, which may sound like words or silence, look like swirling colors, or feel like a glimmer of light on the horizon. Your experience will be unique to you. Get to know your most meaningful personal symbols and the ways your deepest inner wisdom shows up.
Keep practicing. You’ll be amazed at the positive changes you’ll create!