Presence, Mindfulness and Meditation for Inner Peace
Presence is shown to be a key component of peak performance, that is, when we perform at peak levels in activities, including our vocation.
Optimal mental, emotional and physical health are also associated with presence.
Presence is also the cornerstone of healthy, connected and productive relationships, as well as to great communication and the building of rapport with other people.
And, among other positive things, presence is also a key component of charisma.
Those are a lot of highly positive and desirable things from one skilled state of being. From presence.
Okay, for its part meditation is the discipline, a tool, with which we practice and seek mastery over ultimate, refined presence.
With presence, our attention might take in many things in the here and now. For example, if I'm speaking with you in person, you might be deeply focused on and aware of me; my physical being; you might take in little details of my physicality.
In presence, your awareness, your attention and intention would remain fixed and purposeful with me, with our relationship in the here and now. But you would likely be observing many different aspects of who I am. Of our connection. Of our relationship.
Meditation, for its part, is highly refined, focused and disciplined presence. It is the purposeful discipline of remaining focused on one sensory stimulus, either visual, auditory or kinesthetic, and when your mind naturally wanders, meditation is the discipline of becoming aware of your wandering mind, and gently bringing your full attention back to this singular thing in the here and now.
Meditation is the tool we use to practice learning highly refined and disciplined presence.
Okay... Mindfulness is somewhat different.
Mindfulness requires great presence.
But whereas with meditation we want to remain focused on one, simple thing...
With mindfulness, we remain consciously aware of our thoughts, perceptions, beliefs, feelings and emotions. We remain aware and present with our total inner life.
We ideally choose positive, constructive and healthy thoughts, feelings, emotions and beliefs... But more than manipulating our thoughts, beliefs, feelings and emotions, we accept them. We disengage and, in effect, don't take them personally, we don't judge them or criticize them.
For example, let's say we have a problem with a lack of presence when communicating with other people.
We would have to be present with our own thoughts and feelings in order to be aware of our lack of presence with others.
And let's imagine we have the goal of becoming more present with other people.
With mindfulness, we will remain present and mindful of our habitual thoughts and feelings when communicating with others... And when we catch ourselves not being present with others, we will remain aware of that, not criticizing ourselves or our lack of presence, but we might look at that lack of presence with others as someone who is able to hack into our mind and watch our every thought and feeling.
Through mindfulness, we become on judgmentally, more habitually, aware of the nature and habits of our unique mind.
Self-awareness is the necessary first step to optimization of our mind.
It's also the first step to optimization of our skills and performance at anything.
Without self-awareness, at least three undesirable things happen:
- First of all, we have no idea what needs improving. Because we lack self-awareness, we remain unaware of this thing we would want to improve, were we aware of it.
- Secondly, without self-awareness, we have no idea when what we desire to improve actually needs improving. Because we aren't self-aware, we don't know when we are lacking presence.
- Thirdly, without self-awareness, we won't be able to actually improve what we want to improve, even if we do recognize times when we are lacking presence. If we don't have self-awareness, we don't have the ability to implement change.
I know this might seem esoteric and theoretical, but self-awareness is at the core of presence.
If we can't be present with self, we can't be fully present with others or activities.
So,with mindfulness we also, in affect, act as the mind behind the mind.
Observing our own mind as if we are a third party.
With mindfulness, we non-judgmentally observe our inner life.
Meditation and Visualization
In The third video (the one after this one) I will talk you through a 12-minute guided meditation and visualization.
Visualization, for its part, is another, powerful tool we can layer on top of meditation and mindfulness to more actively, purposefully, strategically and tactically use and master our single instrument of life meaning, happiness, fulfillment and success.
It is also our primary tool of peak performance in our professions, our hobbies and our relationships.
What is this tool?
Well, it what we've been talking about all along: It's our mind.
Visualization to Master Nature, Nurture and Our Results
Visualization is the technique of taking active control over how our minds already naturally work.
The human brain evolved over hundreds of thousands of millennia on the wild, brutal savannah where success meant two things: 1) living another day 2) and passing on your genes.
Because of this, our brains naturally first and foremost, among several other things, seek threats in our environment.
That is one of the limitations nature has straddled us with.
There are others, but you can find out more about them in some of my past videos.
We also have nurture to contend with. Nurture being the environment we grew up in that shaped our beliefs.
Our Beliefs and Stories Determine Our Life Experience and Results
Everything we do is based on our beliefs and the stories we tell ourselves about our beliefs.
Again, I go into detail on these things in other videos, so please refer back to them if you’re interested in more information.
Our stories are how we represent our beliefs in our mind and body. Our stories are the visual, auditory and feeling or kinesthetic movies we play in our mind and body about our beliefs.
Visualization is a technique or a tool we use to hack our conscious and subconscious brains and minds so as to take active, purposeful, strategic and tactical control over our mind, brain and physiology and hack into them and craft and live, real time, the reality we desire to create. To purposefully craft our psychological, emotional and physiological life experience, performance and results. To master our beliefs, stories and behaviors.
Visualization is used by virtually every world class, professional athlete to go from being one of the best, to being THE BEST on a given day. It is also used by high achievers in all professions. It's simply hacking into our mind and brain and actively, strategically, controlling their natural process to serve our highest interests, our aspirations and goals.
(Check out Karen Reed's blog article for some of the science behind the powerful benefits of meditation.)