Thursday, February 21, 2013

Creating a Junction of 'Critical Awareness'

[Post by Cliff Harvey]

One of the key benefits of meditation and other mindfulness exercises is that they allow us to begin to see moments in day-to-day life in which we are about to take a reactive action in response to something that happens to us. Often these reactions are in our best interest (that's why that have been patterned into us as automatic, or near automatic patterns in response to stimuli).
For example we are well served by our compulsion to run when confronted by a hungry tiger, but just as often it seems we create patterns of action that although serving us on some level, do not serve our highest good, and do not serve our highest self. 
These reactions are usually the ones that result from the desire to protect ourselves as a result of trauma, disappointment and heartache over the course of our lives, and these reactions rest on a  belief basis of patterns of low self worth, poor self identity and lack of love and forgiveness for the self and others.

By cultivating mindfulness we allow ourselves just that little bit of extra time to see when we are reacting to situations rather than responding in a way that is congruent with our highest self, and therefore congruent with our values and ethos. This brief moment of time I refer to as a 'junction of critical awareness'. It is that moment when we catch ourselves 'in the act' about to do something we know doesn't serve our highest potential, and  recognising this allows us an enormous (and potentially life changing) opportunity to instead do something different.

This junction of critical awareness also allows us to begin to notice our negative and self-limiting talk and imagery.
The way we talk to ourselves and about ourselves tells us an enormous amount about the the patterns of belief we hold about the world we live in and our place within it.

When a thought seemingly comes out of nowhere it is more than likely coming from our subconscious mind, and when certain patterns of thought arise over and over again, you can rest assured that is a pattern of belief that you hold!
For example if the thought "I never catch a break" arises frequently it's probably a belief that you hold.
No big deal right?
Wrong...
If we have the belief that we 'never catch a break' we believe that NOT catching a break (in other words not having opportunities to do and be better) is our safest state to be in.
When we consider that we only recognise around 10% of what we see, hear and feel in the world around us, and that we bring to conscious fruition things from our environment that we need to act upon or be aware of in order to keep us safe, do you think that you are even going to notice opportunities?
Probably not, even if those opportunities are there and staring you in the face.

But if we can cultivate that junction of critical awareness, that little space in time in which we can see these thoughts and feelings arise, we can more objectively analyse them in relation to what we actually want to be our reality.

I use the following simple technique with my clients to notice and transform negative self-talk and self-limiting belief patterns.

1. When you notice negative self-talk arising STOP and bring your attention to it.
2. Ask yourself "Is this what I want to be true?" (The answer of course will be NO!)
3. Ask "What do I want to be true instead?"
4. Frame what you'd like to be true in a powerful and emotionally compelling statement and repeat this a few times immediately. This statement can also form a daily intention, personal mantra or affirmation that you continue to go back to in order to ingrain it as your new reality.

Remember that belief statements and affirmations should be POSITIVE, POWERFUL and stated in the PRESENT TENSE. The subconscious mind is a present tense processor and the only way to impress upon it, is to state things as if they were true right now.

If I found myself saying that "I never catch a break..." I could immediately 'flip' this instead to something like "I am open to and aware of any opportunities that come my way!"

Try this simple exersise for noticing negative self-talk and limiting beliefs and transforming them!

For more information check out my first book Choosing You ~ how you can live the life of your dreams...right now! and my latest best-seller and Ashton Wylie Book Award Finalist Time Rich Cash Optional - an unconventional guide to happiness.