Mindfulness, inner game and mindset are the 3 keys to living fully, or you could say foundations that I rely on to achieve all kinds of successes. I’m a firm believer that when they are cemented in place they make it much easier to reach our full potential on our own terms. I consider them the central cornerstones to achieving all of my hopes and dreams.
They are each different, yet connected and very much complementary. But what are they, really?
- Mindfulness is the process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment by quieting the mind and then (this is the critical bit) exploring those thoughts feelings and emotions without the inference of our judgments, hopes and fears. With this sort of awareness, we gain insight into the true nature of our lives and can hear our inner game.
- Inner Game is the invisible game that takes place in our minds and it’s played against obstacles such as nervousness, self-doubt and self-condemnation. Once we are able to clearly hear our internal dialog, we can then question or verify its validity and ultimately quiet our inner game then adjust our mindset if called for.
- Mindset is the established set of attitudes we hold. These attitudes and opinions, whether right or wrong, shapes the lives we lead, the actions we take and the future possibilities we perceive in the world. In short, it’s our beliefs about what we can do or have or achieve. Through the investigation of our inner game we can decide if our mindset is correct, appropriate and helpful or needs updating. With mindfulness, inner game and mindset set out like that I find it easier to see how they are interacting and shaping my experience and how I live.
The power of three
These foundations keep me connected to my life and make it possible for me to make course corrects. Bonus, each time I successfully make an adjustment it become less intimidating the next time. They also help me stay aligned with current hopes and dreams. Change may sometimes sound scary, but are you current goals the same as they were when you were 10 years old? We are creators. We can’t help it. And creating often means letting go of the old that no longer is appropriate, helpful or supportive of who and where we are in our lives right now. These pillars help keep me aligned with where I am right now. Regret is feeling sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that one has done or failed to do. And it is often born out of our not appreciating the value of a moment. My pillars keep regret at bay by grounding me in the present.
Our present moment is a mystery that we are part of. Here and now is where all the wonder of life lies hidden. And make no mistake about it, to strive to live completely in the present is to strive for what already is the case.
—Wayne Dyer, HealYourLife.com
The perils of disconnection
During my morning meditation today, I suddenly remember how in my twenties I loved to sleep. I appreciated the time alone to recharge from the pressures of the day. I loved the quiet. I haven’t thought about that in a very long time. While not being connected either by time or place, that memory was followed by rhythmic drumming accompanied a synthesizer loop and the voice of David Byrne and the Talking Heads: singing Once in a Lifetime…
And you may find yourself
Living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself
In another part of the world
And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house
With a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?
Before reconnecting with my breath, I was struck by the thought that this is how life happens. Without the three pillars in place, it is easy to find ourselves living our lives, doing our thing, then one day we way up and wonder, “How did I get here?” We are so busy speeding along that we often don’t see our lives happening. We have little control over the results. Or we are so disconnected from ourselves that although we are focused, driven and accomplished what we achieve often gives us little true or lasting satisfaction. Not because our goals aren’t important, but we are constantly changing beings and we don’t have the tools to stay connected to our ever changing, developing, growing, evolving selves.
Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but … life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.
― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
Tapping into this super trio
Through meditation I can perceive through all my senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, pain, heat and cold, balance and gravity, body awareness as well as thought. After I quiet my mind, I begin to observe and investigate what’s going on in my body and mind. It is during this dance between stillness and investigation those magical moments of integration between me and my thoughts, feelings and sensations occurs. From that place of relaxation, I stumble on some of the most interesting revelations. Sometimes, it’s something as simple as sensing a cold coming on or an ache I hadn’t noticed before. Other times it’s a blog post or the clear understanding of something that had baffled me before.
The little journey through my head that I had earlier reminded me how important and powerful time to systematically explore what’s going on inside of me, to get next to what wanted and unwanted thoughts, feeling and emotions then to respond as is appropriate right now. This is mission critical to achieve anything and everything I want. It is also a welcomed reminder to get on track if I had fallen off or reminder why I do what I do.
Don’t get me wrong mindfulness, inner game and mindset won’t make life’s heartaches and pains disappear. But these three foundations will make the small stuff feel smaller and the big catastrophic events manageable. The point is not-to-not feel and engage (really how boring would that be!). But hopefully we can learn to flow gracefully through life (well more gracefully) than we would otherwise, all the while developing a sense of loving kindness and compassion for ourselves and others.
Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.