In our main topic of Listening, we’ve been discussing the concept of “mindfulness”, which is a very ancient concept stemming all the way back to Buddhism. To exist in a complete state of Mindfulness, we are required to become fully aware, so we’ll now explore this topic.
The word itself means “having knowledge or cognizance of ______”. There are millions of books, articles, stories, and documents which explain in vast detail this very simple word. One of the more interesting tidbits is the archaic definition, which means “to be on guard, to be vigilant (as in war).” If the soldier who is guarding the castle is not aware for any reason (asleep, drunk, distracted), the enemy can attack with impunity, because there will be no defense. Since no one was aware of the danger, nothing was done to prevent the attack. To be aware, to be vigilant was a vital skill in staying alive!
Today, nothing much has changed. Having full awareness of the here and now, becoming vigilant, enables one to operate at peak performance levels. The lack of awareness will allow “the enemy” to attack and there will be no defense against the negative consequences.
In his bestselling book The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle writes about “The State of Presence,” which he describes as “a state of intense presence, you are free of thought. You are still, yet highly alert.” He also describes presence as “anchored in the Now.”
This ability to be fully aware, anchored in the here and now, is a very rare ability for Homo Sapiens. Some researchers have concluded that the normal person taps into this heightened awareness level only under extraordinary conditions, perhaps as little as .05% of the time. The rest of their time, unfortunately, is spent in various levels of “unconsciousness.”
Please note that when I write about being fully aware, I am talking about three levels of awareness: body, mind, and spirit.
At the basic level of the body, all of the physical sense channels need to be fully engaged in order to have full awareness of the present moment:
At the next level, your conscious thinking mind, you are aware of the signals being sent from your sensory channels and paying attention to what they are sending. If you are thinking about past memories, dreaming about imagined futures, daydreaming, or lost in thought, it will be virtually impossible to receive the messages being sent. If you are not “tracking” on the current message stream, you will miss valuable information. Being lost in thought will result in the complete inability to deal with what is right in front of you. Your mind is responsible for analytical thinking (positive) as well as reactive thinking (negative) and it’s where you store all your memories.
At the top level, your spiritual awareness or the actual “I”, you are aware of not only the body and the mind, but also the greater range of perception or awareness which could be classified as the ‘non-physical.” This can include analytical capabilities, your ability to dream, and your ability to “sense”. This is where intuition comes into play, and this is where the upper range of abilities, such as ESP and telekinesis, can be experienced. This is the highest level of awareness and is also the realm of the metaphysical and the paranormal. This is where higher-level emotions such as universal love or serenity can be experienced.
In our next post, we’ll explore how these awareness levels impact your ability to listen and perform with maximum efficiency.