Awakening and Mindfulness … what do these mean and how do they relate to each other?
If you can relate to these words then you and I are very similar. We’re on a path of discovery. Not necessarily self discovery, but discovery of purpose and meaning on a greater level. On a universal level, a spiritual level and a soul level.
What does it mean to be awakened or to practice mindfulness?
Many will have their own interpretations of these meanings, but if you want to know my take then keep reading.
As you likely know, I recently journeyed with Ayahuasca (a plant medicine from the Amazon). Within 2 weeks I journeyed again, only this time a different plant medicine… Psilocybin AKA magic mushrooms. During my adventure with these mushrooms I was convinced my being had awakened. I had experienced every feeling I expected with what I was led to believe awakening would feel like. Although now, I realize that was just a glimpse and I am on the path to Awakening (or as some say “waking up”).
I “cracked the code” on society and life in general. I realized that from a young age I had always been a soul that was “awake” but society has pushed me to ignore these feelings. I could go on and on about this experience (and I likely will write about it in more depth soon), but for now let’s go back to what it means to be “awake”.
As I vaguely mentioned everything clicked and I felt a peace and understanding of the universe that I haven’t experienced prior in my life. I truly felt more awake than I have ever in my life previously. And let’s get one thing straight … being awakened is not about energy; rather it’s about understanding and consciousness. I’m not claiming to be an expert on this topic, but I do notice a positive shift in my ability to be presently aware in any given situation. Everything has slowed down and I can catch myself when I go back to my old ways. The difference is now I have the ability to recognize the speed whether it be fast or slow and am able to slow down if I catch myself living too fast.
I love that mindfulness has been such a popular (and growing) topic in recent years. If we can all practice mindfulness; our society would be a more understanding, accepting and ultimately extremely more cohesive group.
Mindfulness can be as simple as smiling towards a stranger and saying your “please” and “thank you’s”. It doesn’t have to be about meditation and everything that comes with the intimidation of finding time in your day to be alone with your thoughts. Trust me, I get it.
It can be extremely hard to find the time to meditate and for others it can be terrifying to sit in silence with your thoughts for 20 minutes (give or take). But, I have good news for you … you don’t have to meditate!
All you need to do to travel the path of mindfulness is to remember what you learned in kindergarten and treat people with respect and kindness. As you practice this, eventually you may want to meditate and seek further “enlightenment” but it’s totally okay not to!
The hardest part about being more “present” is catching yourself when you’re not being present! In essence, we can be more polite to people throughout our day, meditate and do all the “right” things BUT at some point we get that pit in our stomach. We don’t know what it’s from. Something is just off. It’s impossible to identify what this empty feeling is stemming from.
What I’ve noticed is that when I’m living in the present moment that pit in my stomach goes away. When I’m living in the present moment (“The Now”), I’m not thinking about earlier in the day, the day before or the past at all. When I’m living in the present moment, I’m not thinking about the work I still need to do, what I’m going to have for dinner, weekend plans or anything of this sort.
When I’m living in the present, I am accepting life just as it is in the current moment and 100% aware of my being, the people that are or are not around me, the birds singing, the sound the wind makes and the fact that I don’t even need to think about breathing… ever notice that you don’t have to think to breathe?
Let’s talk about breathing. When is the last time you consciously took a big deep breath in and exhaled it out?
If you meditate, do yoga, or actually since you’re reading this I know you do take deep breaths consciously because you already are a mindful person. You’re just trying to become more mindful, right?
Well, here is the most amazing yet simple tip I can offer you… JUST BREATHE. When you’re feeling that pit in your stomach, go back to your breath. You don’t even have to meditate. Just go back to your breath and take a few deep breaths (I recently heard 6 deep breaths is the magic number). Breathing won’t solve everything, but again this is about taking small steps that will lead to leaps as you inch closer to your path of self awareness.
TWO: Create a Gratitude List
In the last episode of Season 3 of my Mojo Monday’s podcast I was transparent in sharing the things I’m grateful for — you can check it out here. I started practicing gratitude a couple months ago. I usually go over my list in my head as I meditate. But, I also go over my list when I run and swim. The real advantage to your gratitude list is when things get tough.
When the going gets tough, the first thing you can do is go back to your breath and the next thing you can do is switch your mindset. Switch from negative self talk to positive talk and you can do this through affirmations and a reading over your gratitude list.
In the end, this is a journey.
There are no shortcuts. You will have to accept the fact that there isn’t a quick fix to inner happiness. What I’ve noticed most is the understanding of not being in control helps keep me grounded.
I’m undoubtedly a control freak by nature, so I am able to find inner peace now with this understanding that I am not in control. I consider it surrendering or you might prefer the word “accepting”. I am accepting things as they are and not resisting. As we know, resistance worsens the situation. Acceptance will lead you toward a path of an awakened consciousness.
You’ve made it to the end. Take a second and thank yourself for taking the time to confront whatever inner voice in your end is holding you back. Shift your mindset to positivity, breathe deep and accept that you are not in control but you can make a difference through choosing positivity and sharing that with your network.
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Email me (Sam@SwagWorx.com) to schedule a time to talk more about any of these concepts.
To Living in the Present Moment,
Sam AKA SwagSam