The universe is only as large as our perception of it. When we cultivate our awareness, we are expanding the universe. — Rick Rubin, The Creative Act
Is there anything more important in today's noisy world than having the ability to direct our awareness?
You may not be ready to agree with me on this point yet, so I want to bring you up to date on my experience with awareness over the past six years.
The first time someone distinguished a deeper understanding of awareness for me was during an interview with Dr. Helena Lass in Tallinn in 2017. We were interviewing Dr. Lass for our interview series at Forward Thinking Workplaces.
In response to our question, "What does it take to get an employee's full attention and best performance?" Dr. Lass responded in part with this intriguing point:
"If you don't know what awareness truly is and how to use it, then your awareness remains on monkey mind regime. You become aware of things but in a random way. Most people have monkey minds because there is no education about discovering where your awareness is and how to keep it where you need it—and for as long as you need it to be there."
This statement left me wondering that there was much more to awareness than I understood or ever imagined. I certainly didn't think I had monkey mind, yet I really couldn't grasp what awareness was in the way she described it.
Little did I know at that time that I was running on monkey mind like most people in the world today.
We also learn from Dr. Lass that when we don't know how to direct our awareness and operate in monkey mind mode, our minds are hijacked by the stimuli in our environment, including our own thoughts!
The significance of this point can't be overstated because it means that we are not directing our life, even though we think we are. We are actually being directed by our environment and the thoughts from our past that arise in our own minds!
That is unless we learn how to direct our awareness and sense from beyond the mind and our own prejudices and experiences.
This may be a provocative statement to make because I'm collapsing six years of my own inner journey on awareness into a few short paragraphs. You might enjoy reading a fuller excerpt from Dr. Lass on awareness here.
The gift of awareness
When we cultivate the ability to direct our awareness, we begin to take notice of what's going on inside and around us in a new way.
We sense and interact with the world differently. Rather than us directing what's happening, we tune into what's happening in the world around us, and we are the witness. We are not directing or controlling the content.
We are sensing the world and people without judgment. Our beliefs and values are no longer filtering what we see and sense.
This leads us to experience the world in a whole new way and discover something new.
The universe reveals itself to us.
The ability to look deeply is the root of creativity. To see past the ordinary and mundane and get to what might otherwise be invisible. — Rick Rubin
Cultivating our awareness is an essential capability for forward-thinking leaders and humans in the 21st century. We will explore this topic more deeply in our upcoming sessions at LeaderONE.org.
I hope this article has planted a seed that will cause you to explore awareness more deeply.
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