Do you find yourself watching or reading the news and thinking — what happened? When did people become so utterly disconnected and mindless?
Logic, reason, and compassion are all-too-often being trampled by opinion, emotion, cruelty, and/or indifference. It can be disheartening and upsetting when you look at it too much.
We live in extremely uncertain times. Even the things that tend to make sense regularly aren’t making much sense right now.
I, however, remain an optimist. Despite all the insanity and ugliness, I still think that people are largely good. Unfortunately, they are currently far more encouraged to be selfish, arrogant, entitled, and mean by certain so-called leaders.
One of the hardest things to reconcile is that you and I can do nothing for anyone else. I can’t make “those people” think for themselves, apply logic, and see things from a broader perspective than they currently possess. That’s extremely frustrating — especially when I strive to help people be more mindful of the world we share.
Thus, I must step back and shift my effort away from changing the outside picture. Because when all is said and done I can’t. I have zero control over what anyone else does, nor over how the collective consciousness acts, reacts, and just watches in complicity.
Since all my control — and all of your control — is internal, it’s better to work on that.
Mindfulness is how you gain control of your existence.
Just what IS mindfulness?
Mindfulness is, simply put, your conscious awareness. Not your subconscious or your unconscious self, specifically the awake and aware self in this moment,
While it truly is that simple, to better understand what mindfulness is and how it works, we need to break it down to its three levels.
· First: On the surface, the easiest to access, it’s your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions. Knowing what you are thinking, what and how you are feeling, what you are doing, and why, tells you what you can and will attract. Conscious reality creation starts here.
· Second: The next level is how the tangibles of the first level impact your perception of the Universe. Thus, it’s your mindset/headspace/psyche and overall sense of being. Who you are, looking out of your eyes at the world is made up of this.
· Third: Deeper down, you find the beliefs and habits that form how you experience life. When you can reach this, you can see habits and beliefs that don’t serve you — and make choices and decisions to change and/or alter them.
The reason I break this into these three levels is that there is a necessary order for working with this. If you jump right into working to change a habit or belief without becoming more aware of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions — you’ll have no direction. You need the understanding of the prior two levels to get at and uproot beliefs and habits. Or to plant new ones.
Let’s take a closer look at each level.
The first level
This is the stuff that you encounter with everything you do. That’s because this is what’s on the surface.
Specifically, the first level is (in no specific order):
It is possible to hold onto thoughts that are not truly yours. When you read something that upsets you — and let it embed into your subconscious — it might gain focus. You find yourself thinking about it, even though it’s not something you can do anything about.
Feelings work the same. If you had something bad happen to start your day, if you let that sink into your subconscious it will put you in a negative mood. Though it is not how you desire to be feeling it’s still overriding your feelings.
Actions may occur without intention. When you do something by rote and give it little to no thought it has no intent. Thus, it has little to no power to do anything of use for you.
Conscious awareness of your thoughts, feeling, actions, and intentions put them in your control. Rather than allow your subconscious or unconscious mind to drive the bus, you gain recognition of what you are thinking, what and how you are feeling, the actions you are taking, and the intent behind them.
That recognition ultimately empowers you. Rather than being in your subconscious and reacting to the world around you, this gives you the power to act.
Remember that you are in control of your thoughts and feelings. While it doesn’t always feel like the truth, it IS. Thus, when you dislike what you are thinking and what and how you are feeling you can change them.
Mindfulness gives you control in the now of you yourself. This brings us to the next level.
The second level
This is who you are. The second level is your mindset/headspace/psyche. It’s your overall sense of self and being.
For a lot of people, this seems alien. That’s because society discourages us from deep-diving into ourselves.
Why? Because of a false narrative about selfishness. Unless you are intent on causing harm, lack, or scarcity by doing something you’re not being selfish. Let’s just leave it at that.
All of the input from the world around you is registered by your mindset/headspace/psyche. And I tag all three of these as one because they are. These are what make you, you.
Mindset is your attitude, your overall disposition, and your inclination in life.
Headspace is where you put your intention and attention. It’s your overall state of positivity, neutrality, or negativity.
Psyche is the overall makeup of your self. It’s the psychological definition of you and how.
All three of these are what goes into processing the surface level thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions. They are one-in-the-same when all is said and done.
However, like defining God, Allah, the Powers-That-Be, nature, The Universe, or what-have-you — everyone has their own language for understanding this.
Everything you take in via your six senses is processed by your mindset/headspace/psyche. Maybe the singular phrase is inner being. But whatever the case, all of your experiences past and present also are processed here.
Mindset/headspace/psyche defines how you see the world as you walk through it. It’s what your meat suit body contains. It is how you process everything.
Consciousness of your inner being allows you to take control and make changes or alterations that you desire.
Consciousness at this level opens you to the deepest depths of yourself.
The third level
This is where your subconscious tends to have control. It is at this deepest level where your beliefs and habits live.
I was amazed when I first looked into myself this deeply. There were beliefs — and still are — buried in here that were created in my childhood. For over forty years these beliefs have impacted and influenced me.
Here, too, are habits that have been ingrained. Some are good, some not so much. This stuff exists in your unconscious mind and will be done by rote and routine — often without you realizing it.
This is why, when I stopped chewing my fingernails, it never ceased to amaze me how frequently I found myself gnawing on a thumbnail subconsciously.
Mindfulness of this level is how you change it. This is how you identify your beliefs and habits and uproot them. This is where you need to go to create and implant new beliefs and habits. It is the hardest
Hence why it’s imperative to come at this from the prior two levels. You need to get inside your head before you get into its deepest depths.
To get to the bottom of the ocean you must swim from the surface down. Mindfulness is swimming to the bottom rather than sinking to it uncontrolled.
Mindfulness on these three levels ultimately gives you control to change, alter, and live how you desire to live.
Mindfulness takes practice
This is not some one-and-done notion. Mindfulness is an everyday practice. You need to work to build your strength by pausing and focusing on being mindful.
The easiest way to do this is by asking specific questions. This is the equivalent of diving into the water. These questions include:
· What am I thinking?
· What am I feeling?
· How am I feeling?
· Why am I doing what I’m doing?
· What are my intentions?
All these questions put you in the here-and-now when asked. That, right there, makes you conscious.
Answering all these questions engages your inner being. Your mindset/headspace/psyche then can be used to see what beliefs and habits are at work. Then, if necessary, change them.
Change is constant. It is, in fact, the only constant in the entire Universe. Hence why mindfulness is ever-changing. Nobody holds a singular mindset/headspace/psyche all day long. Sure, this is the case from time-to-time — but it will change. The question is — do you control the change, or does it control you?
That’s what mindfulness allows. It is control, ultimately, of your life. And since that is the only place where you have control — why not make the most of it that you can?
Mindfulness is easier to work with than you think. When you do, it opens you to all the possibilities and potential of life. Since you are worthy and deserving of doing, being, and having the life you desire — mindfulness is how you empower yourself to give that control to yourself.
Do you see how empowering working with mindfulness can be?