Awakening: A Key to Mindfulness

a woman wearing beads and meditating

I get it. When you hear the word awakening, your mind goes to some new age gobbledygook. I used to think that way too.

Let’s take a moment to consider awakening in an alternative way (pun intended).

The Mindful Living blog is focused on three main components:

  • Paying attention
  • With intention
  • Without judgment

As to mindfulness, awakening is simply accepting that the present moment is unique. It’s the first time it’s shown up for us and the last time we’ll be in it. It’s the result of all the experiences in our lives up until this point. It’s also the springboard for what happens next. We cannot be in yesterday or tomorrow except in our minds.

Does this sound familiar?

“What if…”

“I can’t believe that happened…”

“I wish things were the way they used to be…”

“I just want this to be over.”

We learned how to think these thoughts based on our past experiences and the narrative we created about what happened – good, bad, or indifferent (there’s that labeling and judgment!). If we repeat the same thoughts and opinions to ourselves, we start to believe they are facts instead of just interpretations. There’s another possibility to consider, however.  

We have total control to change our thoughts and narratives and begin mindful living.  

When we are mindful, we create options for ourselves that we didn’t recognize before. We begin to redirect our energy to the present moment, so we find success in the way we define it for ourselves. When we are awake, the options become clearer. We find freedom from the past and hope for the future. As this research shows, this reduces stress.

Awakening to the present moment allows us to find the motivation to be who we are at our core. It increases our ability to show up the way we need to so we may act and be our authentic selves. And it starts the process of building the future we hope to have. We are aware of judgmental thoughts that aren’t helpful that lead to anxiety, frustration, and regret. We stop being victimized by the situations we’re in, realizing we choose how we react.

How to Experience an Awakening in Your Life

Practice awareness of thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve you or the life you want to build. Where are you stuck?

Once you’re aware of thoughts that are creating anxiety, frustration, or regret, challenge them.  

Consider one way you want to show up in your life that you haven’t quite accomplished and focus on this thing for the next 30 days. Example: Your co-worker doesn’t agree with an idea you’ve shared with the team and says so in front of everyone. “I can’t believe she treated me that way. She doesn’t care about what I think, and she doesn’t respect me.”  

Pay Attention: Write this down and examine it. Was this an isolated incident? What exactly was going on in the moment? How often does this happen to you?

With Intention: What do you want to add to the work the team is doing? Where is an opportunity to communicate in a different way? What value might you act on?

Without Judgment: Do you have a habit of interpreting interactions with people who disagree with you in a negative way? Do you commonly get upset when challenged? Is there any other interpretation of the situation?  

Identify one thing that would have the most impact on this thought or narrative and help you change your belief about yourself and this person in the situation. This could be speaking up in the moment, having a discussion after the meeting, or separating criticism from the way you think about yourself.  

Awakening is not changing who you are but discarding who you are not. Deepak Chopra

Contributor

Alyson Phelan

Alyson Phelan founded Present Moment Mindfulness and Yoga to transform lives. She teaches science-based mindfulness solutions to individuals and organizations. She holds various degrees and certifications that support her work in the community to help build practical, accessible, and sustainable methods that work. She is a Certified Yoga Teacher, Certified Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher, and Trauma Responsive Care Certified. Visit her blog or try an online class here