On Becoming a Better Observer

As previously discussed, observe is the first step to discover our passion.

Picture by Beyond My Ken (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) via Wikimedia Commons
Hints about our passion are virtually everywhere, but we need to be able to read the signal from the noise. As such, reducing or even eliminating the noise is critical. Being mindful is perhaps the only way to eliminate the noise and reveal the signal.

Mindfulness is  defined – according to Jon Kabat Zinn (who developed Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program starting 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School).-  as paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally.

It should be on purpose, as being mindful is not the same with being aware. The latter does not have a purpose. Being mindful is to activate our consciousness on our subject’s attention. Mindfulness need to be done for the present moment. Right here, right now. It does not mean that we should not review our past or plan for our future. It is just calmness and contentment can only be attained by focusing ourselves to the present. Finally, it shall be done in a non judgement way. We simply accept the experience: noticing it, let it raising, passing, and ceasing to exit.

We can choose anything as a subject of our attention when we are being mindful. During talking, walking, eating, etc. Let’s start being mindful when we are breathing.

It is suggested that we periodically focus our attention to our breath. Why? As a start, breath is something that we take for granted despite the fact that we could not live without it.  Breath does not need us to make it happen. Yes, the breath breathes itself! Breath also provides natural act to ground us in the here and now. We can only take a breath right here, right now. You can not do it for other state. In addition, breath is a good monitor for our feeling – the way we breath is highly correlated with how we feel at the moment.  Finally, breath provides anchor to our attention.

Scientists have been identified that mindfulness affect the brain in a very positive way. Professor Mark William, Director of Oxford Mindfulness Center, who also developed Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), is one of them.

We spend a lot of time serving others. Now it’s time to serve one of the most important clients: ourselves. Numerous study have found that meditation is good for our well being. See this as an example

To maximize the benefit of meditation, we need to make it as a habit. Start with a short period of time, say 8 minutes. Pick a quite space, and sit. Stay upright, and we may choose to open or close our eyes, and start breathing.  Consciously. Feel the air as it goes through our nose. Feel the movement of our chest as we breathing. Feel it as it comes in and out of our body.  It is normal to find your mind wander around. Acknowledge them. Then slowly return our focus to our breathing. Our mind will wander. Again, acknowledge them, and slowly return our focus to our breathing. After 8 minutes, stop. Repeat. At the same place, for the same duration, starting at the same time. Everyday.

We learn at least two things: ability to separate ourselves with our mind, and ability to return our attention to a particular task, consciously.

After a while, observe our life. Be mindful to whatever we do – walk, talk, and even eat our chocolate. What are the things we do that close to our heart? What are the things that move us? Then, we start sensing our passion.

But sensing our passion is just the beginning. The next post will discuss on how do we validate our assumption. Well, sort of, as finding passion is also a journey.

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