Practicing mindfulness will allow you begin to see clearly what is really going on inside you. As you see more clearly, you find that you can just naturally come into balance. And as you do, you come to three very important realizations about how your mind works.
The essence of practicing mindfulness is to be aware of what you are sensing, feeling, thinking, wanting, and intending to do at any given moment. Like any other life skill, mindfulness grows with practice. As you learn to understand how your perceptions, feelings, thoughts, desires, and intentions influence your body, your communications, and your behavior, you will feel more confident and better equipped to guide the course of your life and find balance moment to moment, day to day. The wheel of mindfulness illustrated below offers a simple yet powerful compass for charting the course of your life.
In this moment of experience what do you notice going on? What is the raw sensory data available to you directly through the doorways of your sense perceptions -- what do you see, hear, smell, touch, or taste? What you are looking to discover here is the kind of objective information that a video camera or tape recorder would pick up if they were turned on to record this experience, with no overlay of judgment or interpretation.
How does this experience make you feel? Do you feel anxious or at ease, happy or sad, mad or glad, depressed or excited? What words best describe the emotional tone of your experience in this moment? Be watchful of the tendency to respond by saying "I feel that. . ." Adding the word "that" after "I feel" probably indicates that you're moving into thinking and judging rather than staying with your actual emotional response.
What are your thoughts or "internal conversations" about your experience? Are you creatively thinking about a situation, or are you merely replaying old thoughts? What is the story you're telling yourself about a situation -- your thoughts, fantasies, and assumptions? Recognizing the old stories helps you to live in a more grounded way and liberates you from mistaking your thoughts and assumptions for reality!
What are your values, intentions, and motivations? What do you really want or need? Having clarity on your values, desires, intentions, and motivations is essential for effective communication and action.
What action are you willing to take in this situation? What are you unwilling to do? What are you willing to stop doing? Bringing mindfulness across the threshold of awareness into the domain of conscious action is the key to transformation. When you consider and then communicate to others what you are and are not willing to do, you become a conscious co-creator of your experience, rather than being unconsciously enslaved to it. And remember, your actions and inactions speak more loudly than your words. Be mindful of the impact that all your communications have on others.
[Adapted from the book "Living in Balance" by Joel Levey
and Michelle Levey]