Saturday, August 27, 2011


Mindfulness is the experience of being aware of your current thoughts, feelings, body state and surroundings by paying attention to your reactions, motivations and actions. Our mind is so full of ongoing chatter that it simply becomes the noise the fills up most of our life. To increase your ability to be mindful, I encourage you to become aware of your inner conversation. When someone walks into the room, we may say to the person next to us, “She’s attractive.” But our inner conversation is what we have with ourselves when no one is around. Someone might walk into the room, and we say to ourselves, “I want to have sex with her.” Various meditation techniques can also be helpful in increasing your mindfulness. The process of behavioral analysis described later in the stage is a tool of increasing mindfulness by asking you to reflect on your thoughts, feelings and behaviors when you last acted-out.

What you will find is that mindfulness is a skill. It is not possible to mindful 100% of the time. The key is to try to be mindful, and when you aren’t mindful of what you are feeling or thinking to simply and gently become mindful of what you are thinking and feeling. I know it is easier said then done. Many meditation traditions have at their core the concept of mindfulness. I have two examples that might be helpful. Consider the image of a cloud in the sky. We see the cloud, and watch it come to be right over us, and slowly move on only to have another cloud take its space. Next, think of a leaf on a river. While sitting on the bank, you see the leaf come into view, pass in front of you, only to move out of your view. So too, mindfulness is becoming aware of your thoughts as you move from thought to thought. So to when building our skills of mindfulness, we watch what we are thinking as we move from thought to thought. Given that many of our thoughts are automatic, in the healing process, becoming aware of our thought may occur we stop and ask, what where we thinking. This is a benefit of completing a behavioral analysis.

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