Once we have decided that something in our lives is calling us to change, we must develop a capacity for awareness. I write a lot about mindfulness in these postcards, not because it is a popular buzz word in the field of psychotherapy, but because mindfulness is being demonstrated over and over by neuroscience as a fundamental factor in altering the mind, and by extension, our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
“The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change, until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.” — R. D. Laing
The best first step one can make in developing the will is to engage a mindfulness practice. This does not have to be a “Big Deal.” Start with 5 minutes, ideally in the morning (our will diminishes as we grow tired), before your day gets underway (and everything else becomes More Important). Simply sit quietly and notice. Notice any sounds outside of the room. Notice any sounds inside the room. Notice your skin and where your body makes contact with the air. Notice any sensations in your body. Notice the kinds of thoughts you are having (this is different from thinking . . . you are not engaging the thoughts, you are witnessing them). Notice it all with an attitude of kindness. If kindness is not possible, simply notice that.
The idea is to begin to exercise the muscle of awareness. It is only with this capacity in place ~ the capacity to notice what we are already doing, what is already happening ~ that we can create the space to try something different.
This postcard is the second in a series on Engaging the Will.
Rafia Rebeck, MA, NCC, LPCC, is a Nationally Certified Counselor trained in the Hakomi Method of Psychotherapy. She offers a warm, sincere, and safe approach for those who seek personal transformation through mindfulness. Please feel welcome to get in touch by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. If this postcard was meaningful for you, I invite you to share it with others who may benefit.