Life happens in the present…
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: mindfulness is not for the faint of heart.
If you decide you’re going to wake up and live a life of conscious awareness—working to maintain that awareness with every thought you have and every feeling you feel—you’re going to become exhausted quickly. The human mind just can’t do it.
That’s where mindfulness comes in, offering a shortcut directly through your brain, past your consciousness, and into your subconscious mind. By shutting up and sitting, you begin to achieve a theta brainwave state where you can start to pattern new thoughts over the old ones that are no longer working for you.
But it’s important to understand what obstacles might be preventing present-moment awareness.
There are three ways most people typically prevent themselves from being fully aware in the present moment:
- Ingrained emotional responses based on past experiences.
Aka your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings. When an experience triggers a response, your brain immediately wants to bypass mindfulness training and kick into survival mode. In a stress state, the subconscious creates thoughts that can generate emotional reactions that may not directly relate to the experience itself.
- An inability to accurately hear what someone is saying based on expectations of what’s next.
We’ve all done it before: spent an entire conversation waiting to talk and rehearsing our response, rather than fully listening to the other person. But by immediately making subconscious assumptions about a person or a situation based purely on thoughts and beliefs—rather than what someone is actually saying or doing—you’re cutting yourself off from present reality.
- Misinterpreting emotional signals due to an ongoing narrative in your mind.
When emotions kick in, it’s easy to stop listening. But when you filter the facts of a situation through your own beliefs, you’ll miss the actual data presented. Often, confirmation bias kicks in, leaving you to only accept any data that supports what’s already in your mind.
These three barriers to present moment awareness are why so many folks just live their lives in old habits, broken patterns, and rote memory. Presence is accessed when you’re not creating these barriers from the protective mechanism of the ego-driven self.
Awareness can be achieved when you stop being intoxicated by the fears, stories, and limiting beliefs stored in your subconscious.
I believe the world is in the middle of a great awakening—especially in the West. The challenges to grow our consciousness are abundant, but there are also more opportunities than ever to do so. When faced with the challenges, stay in the present nonreactive moment and watch the challenge dissolve.
You don’t need to make everything a long, archeological dig into your psyche and past to be fully present. You just need to practice mindfulness enough to identify where your patterns and present-moment barriers originated to remind yourself they’re not serving you, and you can let them go. You can pull autopilot patterning into consciousness and mindfully, with loving-kindness and compassion, sit with the pattern.
Then present-moment awareness happens.
Then, you live there.
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