Mindfulness is Not a Relaxation Exercise
Although It has a Relaxing Benefit
I first learned about mindfulness in 1990 when I was beginning to learn body-centered approaches to psychotherapy. As a matter-in-fact, it was the very first thing that was taught – to be aware and observe. Without this awareness and ability to observe Self and others, not much can change.
Of course, Buddhism has been teaching mindfulness forever and it is the first thing that must be cultivated and nurtured to wake up.
So, I renamed the first section of my “Developing resources from a Somatic/Experiential Perspective” training (now known as “Somatic & Energetic Resourcing”) Mindfulness.
Then along came the psychotherapy profession and turned mindfulness into a superficial relaxation exercise. I would say about 95% of the clients and clinicians who I work with, who have taken mindfulness or are teaching mindfulness, don’t have Self-awareness and/or an observing ego.
So, I renamed that section of my training to Self-awareness. A better reflection of what mindfulness actually is. I invite you to be Self-aware. My awareness is, that Self-awareness is your natural state. Before all of the conditioning and programming you are exposed to overrides it. It is your ability to know who you truthfully are with all of your individual gifts and capacities. Self-awareness is where you are aware enough to know something is off by a change in your emotions, thoughts, physical sensations, or energetic shifts. Knowing each of those is a way you communicate truth to yourself.
And, the more Self-aware you are you also notice the subtle energy of things, choices, people, possibilities. Of course, if you never gave up on your Self-awareness you would have never ignored all of these innate signals.
But we buy all of what we are exposed to by family, culture, religion, social groups, school, professions, socioeconomic experiences, and so on and so on.
The challenge is, remembering who we really are. There can be a great deal of lie and Self-limitation to see through, let go of, to take your attention away from what is true for you. At first the conditioning is very strong. We have developed powerful habits of Self-limitation, which shows up in your brain as a powerful set of neural chemicals that reinforce the patterns.
With ongoing practice of disrupting the unconsciousness by observing, learning how your innate signals communicate with you, learning how symptoms are truth in you attempting to get your attention to self-correct, new patterns of Self-awareness and observation skills develop and can become your new default.
The truth in you will never leave you alone. The symptoms you experience are you telling you something needs to be addressed. Medicating them mostly leads to needing more medication to shut them up. They are warnings that can guide you to be more in alignment with who you really are. What if you listen to your signals and cultivate a curiosity about what they are trying to convey. Eventually you will learn your own language and be able to trust your guidance.
Self-awareness. To develop good observational strategies. To learn your innate truth and live by it.
Transformative Spirit, LLC