Waking Up

I want to start this blog with a post based on the habit that has changed my life the most profoundly: mindfulness meditation.

It seems nowadays that the term "mindfulness" gets thrown around quite frequently. I'm cool with that - by hearing that term more often people get to have it circulating in their consciousness more frequently. Before I go any further though, I will explain what mindfulness means to me.

Mindfulness is simply the ability and process of being vividly aware. Aware of what? Aware of all appearances in one's consciousness. For more clarity, I will define my interpretation of what consciousness means, which can be tricky, but it helps. Consciousness is (brace yourself for some spiritual philosophy now) the universe, and all that is within it ("within it" can be somewhat misleading, because it implies the universe has boundaries, but let's carry on with this for now). The universe is conscious as itself and of itself. Furthermore, as human beings, we are an expression of the universe. We are the universe experiencing itself. Therefore, we are an expression of consciousness as an expression of the universe (or as the universe). And, finally, going one step further, what can we notice within consciousness? The contents of consciousness include the appearances within one's awareness: sensations (the breath, your body, etc.), sights, sounds, thoughts, tastes, and smells. This is the experiential component.

So, circling back now, being mindful essentially means we are vividly aware of the contents of consciousness. Simple enough, right? That's the thing - it is extremely simple. But perhaps that is why our modern world / culture / society is so bad at it (at least in my perception). It is the most simple and cathartic act we can take in our lives, yet how many people do you know actually express that they make it a priority to practice mindfulness in some capacity in their lives? I truly hope I am wrong in this, but it is likely not many. Nevertheless, I believe this is another profound reason to be practicing mindfulness. In a world where we are perpetually transfixed on likely multiple complex sources of items trying to capture our awareness (consider: your phone, TV, your job, etc.), it seems so very important to me that we make an attempt to habitually narrow our awareness down onto and into the simplest of items in our awareness. Again, that being the contents of consciousness. Monotasking is the term to describe this.

You likely know that mindfulness is a good thing. Some of the profound, palpable benefits of mindfulness include:

  • Reduced Stress

  • Less Racing Thoughts

  • Increased Enjoyment of the Present Moment

  • Increased Productivity and Focus

  • Less Fear

  • Less Judgement - of Others and of Oneself

  • Less Anger

  • In General, Less of "The Bad" and More of "The Good" Experiential Components

There are so many reasons to practice mindfulness, and the benefits above are merely scratching the surface. The above benefits are more of the superficial, tangible benefits; but, there is an infinite amount of other benefits that one begins to experience as a result of knowing oneself better. By quieting the mind, we become in touch with our inner sense of knowing, or our innate intuition. You trust yourself more, cultivate resiliency, and in general are more capable of handling the ever-flowing tides of life. Moreover, practicing mindfulness in any of its form is innately enjoyable. It feels good! The knowing that you are honing these abilities and acquiring these benefits is one thing, but the practice itself, while doing it, is very enjoyable.

If you are brand spankin' new to mindfulness and any of its forms (meditation, breath-work, journaling, etc.), then it may prove difficult at first. You will not sit for one meditation or do one round of breath-work and immediately receive all that mindfulness has to offer. This is a practice, a state of being, that must be built up brick-by-brick, day-by-day, until you reach a point of knowing that it is working. Maybe it will be your new or revitalized sense of intuition that tells you your practice is paying off. Maybe it will be your spouse or loved one that says, "Wow, you seem different, but better! You are more calm, relaxed, and enjoyable to be around!" Or perhaps it will be at work, with your coworkers interacting with you in a new and enjoyable manner, or telling you how much better you are performing. No matter the way it manifests, the practice will pay off with dedicated, consistent effort.

How do I like to practice mindfulness? My favorite form is through meditation. Specifically, vipassana meditation, or in other words, mindfulness meditation. I have used an app, called Waking Up for about the past five years of my life. Like I said at the start of this post, it is the greatest habit I have ever developed, and I assure you, I am a man of habit and routine. Waking Up was created by Sam Harris - here's a bit about him, from his website:

"Sam Harris is the author of five New York Times best sellers, including Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. His writing and public lectures cover a wide range of topics—neuroscience, meditation, moral philosophy, religion, rationality—but generally focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.

Sam received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA. He has practiced meditation for over 30 years and has studied with many Tibetan, Indian, Burmese, and Western meditation teachers, both in the United States and abroad."

If you are interested in trying out this app and incorporating this form of mindfulness into your life, click here. That link will grant you a free month for the subscription to the app. The app has a brilliant introductory course that guides you through the progression of beginner to practitioner of mindfulness meditation in a 28-day format. It's a great way to test the waters and see what mindfulness can do for you... or what you can do for yourself.

Also, I offer a specific service on my website where we can practice mindfulness together. It will provide you with an hour of my time where you will receive my full attention and awareness, and together we can discuss, practice, and cultivate mindfulness into your life. Check out the testimonials on my page from some of my clients who I have practiced mindfulness with if you would like to know more of what to expect! And just for more clarity, when you sign up for coaching services with me, the entire philosophy of nurse coaching is rooted in mindfulness, so you would experience it every single session with me, and together we would generate more of it your life.

As I mentioned, there are many forms of practicing mindfulness, and as my website and blog continues to evolve I will absolutely be writing about these other practices, so stay tuned. For now, I want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to read this post and expand your level of consciousness on this topic. I would also like to state here that I do not claim to be a master mindfulness practitioner; rather, I am a life-long student of the practice who has reached the point where I am ready to teach others and help facilitate their journey.

My intent for this website and this blog is to serve you, the reader (or, if I am coaching you, the client) in any way that I possibly can. For the past few years of my professional life as a registered nurse and now a nurse coach I have acquired knowledge on all things health, nursing science, holistic / alternative health, spiritualism, biohacking, lifestyle / behavioral optimization, and so much more. It is my passion and purpose to learn, practice, and help others incorporate these things into their lives, with the greater intent to serve humanity and the Earth (and the universe!) in any way that I can.

If you have enjoyed reading this post, please let me know in the comments below, or feel free to contact me via email or social media! I am always here for you.

To Your Health and Healing,

- James

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