Presence and Mindfulness. Meditation and Visualization. Four Powerful Tools for Your Life.
When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way.
~ Wayne Dyer
The Structure of this Article and Video
This is the first article and video in a series of three. They are on the powerful skills and practices of presence, meditation, mindfulness and visualization.
This first article and video define presence, mindfulness and meditation. They also articulate and clarify the differences and the relationships between presence, mindfulness and meditation. This way you can gain a better understanding of, and potential mastery over, these powerful life success tools.
I will ask you questions that will help you gain a greater personal relationship with presence, mindfulness and meditation and how they can help you. Questions will help you personalize and make productive use of this information.
The second article and video expand on presence, mindfulness and meditation, then segue into visualization as a powerful peak performance and success tool.
Finally, in the third video (to appear only as a video and not as an article), I will walk you through an actual twelve minute guided meditation and visualization exercise, so you can put intellectual understanding and personal association to practice. After all, intellectual understanding of any skill is useless without skilled and consistent application.
First Things First. When Can We Affect Change, Goals and Aspirations?
Everything happens now. In this moment.
This article is about four mindsets and skill-sets that, I believe, are the most important life skills and practices we can seek mastery over.
The four concepts are, as you know by the title of this article: presence, mindfulness, meditation and visualization.
These are not airy-fairy, new-age concepts. They are simply taking active, strategic and tactical control over how your mind and brain already, naturally work. This way you can gain greater self, life and work success mastery in all that is important to you.
Presence - One of the Six Pillars of Success
Of the Six Pillars of Success (please see my 2016 book BOLD! Success System for the 6 Pillars), the Pillar of Presence is the most nebulous, yet central to peak performance, success and fulfillment.
Practicing and perfecting presence is, I believe, one of the most powerful, productive things you and I can do with our time and in our lives.
A lack of presence can only lead to undesirable things, including stress, poor mental, emotional and physical health, substandard relationships, mediocre to poor work quality, dissatisfaction... and more.
Study after study at top research universities and research organizations, such as Harvard and Stanford, shows that presence is a cornerstone of mental, emotional and physical health.
Presence is also a cornerstone of relationships and communication skills. Including communication with ourselves and with others; including God, if you believe in God.
More on Presence
Presence describes the practice of living fully, yet simply, present now; and within each successive, singular moments of life. In the now. The here and the now - so you and I live more simply, yet fully, and with greater personal power.
The practice of presence is, as I mentioned, scientifically shown to be profoundly beneficial to our psychological and physiological health.
In addition, presence is shown to be a core component of peak performance in work, hobbies, relationships and anything for which we find purposeful or for which we feel great meaning or passion.
Presence - Mindfulness - Success Relationship
The only time we can affect change or succeed in goals and aspirations is now. This moment.
You and I cannot affect change five minutes ago or five minutes from now.
Our only power and capacity exists now, in this moment. The greater control you and I gain over our instrument of life perception -- our mind -- the greater will be the quality of our life experience and our success. Make sense?
Presence and Mindfulness Go Against Our Brains' & Minds' Nature
Our brains and minds naturally work against us though.
Our brains (a physiological organ) and our minds (awareness, thought and feeling energy) are programmed to wander, ponder and worry about now, the past and the future.
In contrasts, our higher and core life force is naturally driven to expand, improve and succeed. To live big and to matter.
You and I can only expand, improve and matter by investing our wholly focused, concerted awareness and action in the now. In the present. We cannot do it yesterday or tomorrow. We can only do it now.
As such, if we are to live to our greatest potential per our soul's calling, we must gain some mastery over our minds and brains. Otherwise, our minds and brains will sabotage our highest interests and aspirations.
All other things equal, the greater our focus, the greater our presence now, the greater our potential for peak performance and success. Also, the greater meaning and fulfillment you and I can experience.
Presence and Mindfulness Differences
Mindfulness and presence are often used interchangeably. There is, to my mind, a differentiating factor between them though.
Presence is the art, skill and act of being fully here, in this moment.
If I am present with you, it means I am fully here: mind, body, senses, awareness and emotions with you, here and now. It means I am focused deeply on understanding who you are and what you may be communicating to me.
Presence also means I am fully present with myself, just as I am present with you. After all, I am my instrument of presence and I must first be present with myself before I can be present with anyone else.
I might also be present with our immediate environment, as I take in the totality of the time/space you and I currently share.
But Back to the Presence and Meditation Dilemma
But the human brain and mind naturally wander. They lose focus, skirting from one stimulus in the environment to another and from one random awareness, thought or concern to another.
The way to practice focus, centering and presence is through the discipline of meditation.
(When you're done with this inner work, scroll back here and CLICK HERE for an awesome video with 3 Peak Performance Productivity Tips that will turbo-charge your accomplishments.)
Meditation is the disciplined art, science and skill of gently focusing on one thought or sensory stimulus and gently bringing our attention back to that one thing as our mind naturally wanders, so as to practice the art of presence.
For example, we might meditate by focusing our attention on awareness of an actual point on a physical object or on an actual sound, such as the well-known “ohhhmmmmmm….” or on sound coming from meditation music.
Or we might focus on the feeling of our breath.
Alternatively, we might focus on an imagined spot or sound. But as our awareness and focus wanders, and it will, we gently bring it back to that single spot or sound.
Meditation is the purposeful practicing of highly focused presence. It is the training of our mind to still, center and focus on one thing. To maintain ultimate, refined presence.
Meditation requires presence but—whereas we can remain present, while our attention takes notice of different things within or around us, within the current moment—meditation is different.
In meditation, we gently move our mind away from various and multiple random present moment awareness’s (and all past and future thoughts) and we keep bringing our focus back to the one thing we are meditating upon.
With presence, we don’t have to have the objective of remaining focused on one sensory stimulus, as we do in meditation. We can be very present in the moment, yet allow our mind to wander from object to object, awareness to awareness, so long as these objects and awareness’s exist in the here and now and not in the past, future or another location.
Mindfulness necessitates presence. But mindfulness allows our thoughts to wander and mindfulness acts as complete awareness behind our wandering mind. We non-judgmentally observe our mind’s wandering thoughts as they occur.
You and I are naturally invested in our wandering thoughts, both emotionally and judgmentally. With mindfulness, we ideally narrow and focus our thoughts as in meditation, with the intention of stilling the mind and choosing constructive thoughts and emotions. But the primary goal in mindfulness is disengaged observation of our thoughts and feelings and the choice of constructive ones, rather than choosing singular focus, as in meditation.
Mindfulness is an ideal habitual mindset we can employ moment by moment, hour after hour, day by day.
On the other hand, meditation is a tool to temporarily practice the art and skill of ultimate stilling of the mind. The practice of ultimate presence. With focus on one, singular thing in the here and now.
Meditation, Presence and Mindfulness
So, presence includes the disciplined and purposeful stilling and focusing the mind in the current here and now of time, space and physical matter and energy. The mindful mind also seeks stillness and focus in the here and now. But the mindful mind also seeks disengaged observation of the mind being observed (our own mind). It also seeks positive, constructive thoughts and emotions.
And, again, meditation is a tool to temporarily practice the most refined, disciplined form of presence.
One caveat: Other people might define mindfulness somewhat differently than I do. My intention is not to say “I am right.” My opinion and definitions are just mine. I simply want to be clear, so you understand where I’m coming from.
(CLICK HERE for a short, guided meditation and Personal Power Visualization).
Meditation, Presence and Mindfulness - And You
Think of a time when you were completely absorbed in what you were doing – and for a prolonged period of time.
You were engaged in an activity you found important and positively meaningful.
You felt it important to perform at a high level.
Your complete mind, energy, intention and attention were all focused on and consumed by this singular activity?
You lost track of time and had no concern for anything other than this activity in the here and now.
You may have felt an absence of emotion, but looking back after the fact, the experience was very cathartic and meaningful, possibly even euphoric.
It could have been the enjoyment of a beautiful day, the sea, a mountain or a new city.
It might have been work, a hobby or a fascinating person.
Or perhaps it was a peaceful moment alone, simply being; virtually free from thought; unaware of the past, the future or anything other than simply being, experiencing and enjoying this moment.
You may not of thought about it this way at the time, but these experiences were ones of presence and mindfulness.
Presence and Mindfulness Brain Activity and State
Studies show that the state you experienced in the above situation(s) you just now remembered is state associated with the brain waves found during peak creativity, awareness and performance.
They are also associated with a sense of peace and personal power.
This article series on Presence and Mindfulness - Meditation & Visualization will continue next week...
Next week, we will go a bit deeper into presence and mindfulness, as well as meditation.
Then we will then talk about the powerful tool, visualization.
These four disciplines and skills are, to my mind, the most powerful tools at our disposal for deep peace, joy, fulfillment, peak performance, personal development, success. And more.
That's it for the moment. More on this next week. Please rejoin me then for #2 in this 3 video series.
The week after next, I will post the final article and video in this series. I will only post it here on my blog. For now anyway, the video will be available only through my blog and not through YouTube.
This will be what I believe to be a very useful, even powerful, guided meditation and visualization for you. It will last about 12 minutes and will guide you, first into a very present, meditative state, which will gently segue into a dynamic state of great personal power, focus and motivation.
That's it for this week. Peaceful presence and mindfulness to you my friend. Peace, power & prosperity.