Pillar Four – Mindfulness
Our forth and final pillar is Mindfulness.
Following on from our third pillar Mindset, Mindfulness offers almost the opposite advice. While mindset was all about observing your thoughts and emotions, trying to find what’s not working for you and having the power to change it, mindfulness requires you to let go of all that. If you have not noticed already, the four pillars are actually interrelated and serve as opposites to reach other.
To find true balance, like in a handstand for example, you are trying to balance the energy of gravity with the dynamics of your own body while upside down. Many components but if you have ever practiced doing a handstand before you may have noticed that there is a point you reach, a zone, a tipping point where you find your balance and it all becomes effortless and easy. You need just the right amount of force and relaxation to find that balanced point.
Mindfulness is that balance to Mindset as Movement is the balance to Nourishment. They are the Ying & Yang to each other. Movement and Nourishment are external Ying & Yang while Mindset and Mindfulness are internal Ying & Yang.
Mindfulness aims to obtain Peace of Mind. Often our mind is full – Mind-Full. There is little room or energy to even bring awareness to our thoughts and emotions, because they are such an integrated part of ourselves. It can feel like trying to paddle upstream when are thoughts are defeating us and we become overwhelmed, fearful and anxious. Mindfulness requires us to quiet the mind, to calm it down, to stop the relentless thoughts after thought after thought. Again, this is not easy task and like a workout, takes practice, discipline and determinations.
I find meditation practices the most helpful here. But mediation doesn’t mean you have to sit in a temple or under a tree for hours humming some mantra. Meditation or a mindfulness practices can be as simple as sitting in silence for 5 mins or playing the guitar or going for a walk, something which stops your mind from continually thinking. It helps create a gap or space between the thoughts, just long enough for you to start getting a handle on them. Practicing mindfulness gives you a deeper awareness of yourself; it’s the pause button to your brain. It just takes some practice to lean how to push it. We are literally creating the space for the mindset work to begin by becoming more aware of your thoughts and inevitably our actions.
As you can see each of the pillars go hand in hand. By no means is this easy. I too struggle to always maintain the right balance. You will find days when it all just comes togethers and then others when you cant get one to work out. Each of us all in on our own well-being journey and you may see you need more work in one area. Take the time to evaluate where you are. Be honest! It’s only when we can be truthful with ourselves that real change and transformation can happen. Be easy on yourself too – life can be crazy and unpredictable. The key I find, is to not have perfect balance all the time but to accept that I will always be fine-tuning and balancing these areas. By having the pillars in my mind, I can take action early and avoid the long-term effects of being deficient in one area.
I leave you with this quote:
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself”