Most people I meet are on the edge of exhaustion. 42% of entrepreneurs have recently reported experiencing burnout.
I think that about another 40% were too tired to report. As high performers — entrepreneurs, athletes, leaders — the #1 risk to your business and leadership is your own burnout!
“To judge you by your failures is to cast blame upon the changing of the seasons for their inconsistency.” — Kahlil Gibran
Mindfulness practice helps us develop the recognition of the ever-changing nature of experience — thoughts, perceptions, and sensations. However, we often cast blame upon ourselves and others for the inconsistency of our experiences in life even though we know they are seasonal.
Often high performers judge themselves by “lack of motivation” or “being lazy.” I put them in quotes because what we perceive as a lack of motivation often comes from being too exhausted or overwhelmed with projects.
I define mindfulness as a devotional practice to illuminate the ever-present nature of awareness and recognize the ever-changing nature of experience.
Through this devotional practice arises the insight or realization of awareness as the true nature of self and experience, a momentarily appearing phenomena, as a misidentification of the mind as the self. The mind tends to forget about its true nature, awareness, and go towards and identify itself as the experience.
The definition holds three main components:
- Awareness – which is ever-present
- Experience – which is ever-changing
- Practice – training our attention and recognition
And it cycles through. Without practice, recognizing awareness as the true nature of self weakens, and the ever-changing nature becomes our primary experience.
One misperception about mindfulness is that it must be done in meditation while sitting silently on a pillow with your eyes closed. However, the “practice to illuminate the ever-present nature of awareness and recognize the ever-changing nature of experience,” as I define it, shouldn’t only happen when we take a break from the ongoing movement of life. On the contrary, we must cultivate it at any present moment. Ideally, it doesn’t need to be an active practice but the natural and effortless way we live our lives. It shouldn’t be something you do but who you are!
How far are you from that ultimate limitless nature within you?
The exact distance the wave is from the water. The moment a wave realizes it is water, it will never misidentify itself as a wave again; the moment you realize you are awareness, you’ll never misidentify yourself as your thoughts, fears, and self-doubt again.
It is not a matter of reaching, achieving, or arriving as it is not bound in distance or time, but rather a matter of choice. “Enlightenment” happens in alignment, not in time! So make a conscious choice to be and live that which you are and let go of anything that is not. Right now.
“Insist you are in bondage, and you are in bondage. Insist you are awake, and you are awake.” – Ramana Maharshi
Your limitless potential
Your limitless potential is an obvious statement.
Why? Because your true nature is beyond mind-body. Who you essentially are, what we refer to as awareness, is limitless. And is not bound in time and space. So as long as you align your life with the understanding “I am limitless awareness,” the more you’ll fulfill that potential within you.
Fear is an untapped potential in you trying to express itself
Is there a gap between the experience you have at this moment to what is possible for you to achieve?
Most people will answer yes to this question. The mind creates this gap with its false perception of your true nature and thus reality. This activity generates fear, stress, judgment, and self-doubt, which result in a gap in your experience.
Most days of our lives, we repeat the same patterns, a very similar cycle of thought-words-actions that create the experience you call “my life.” But instead of looking at your life as something that happens out there, look for it in the cycle of your thoughts, words, and actions.
Suppose there is a gap between your current experience and what is possible. This gap will remain regardless of the outside circumstances because you still operate on the same patterns rooted in the same misunderstanding of self.
Living your ultimate potential means a choice at every moment you are alive, leaving no gap between what is possible to experience and how you live now.
And so, how can you do that?
Mindfulness is one excellent practice.
Not to live your ultimate potential 100% of the time, but notice when you see that gap — did I choose fear? Did I turn into old patterns that don’t serve me? Do I think about the past or future too much?
I want you to have no judgment on that. Judgment will be taking you further away from living your ultimate potential.
In a way, I can experience fear which can create a gap, but I can meet this fear from a place of joy. When you have done that, you close the gap.
You do not need to get rid of fear, fight it, or do anything to it. It is not bad, and there is nothing wrong with it. It is just another of the very many human sensations.
Our job is not to eliminate negative emotions, thoughts, words, and actions; it is to meet them from our ultimate potential using mindfulness. The more we strengthen the recognition of “I am awareness. My nature is joy, peace, and freedom. I am not limited nor conditioned by anything,” the more the so-called “negative” emotions, thoughts, words, and actions will dissolve. Why? Because they almost solely arise out of our misperception of self and reality.
Thich Nhat Hanh said, “No mud, no lotus. Both suffering and happiness are of an organic nature, which means they are both transitory; they are always changing. The flower, when it wilts, becomes the compost. The compost can help grow a flower again. Happiness is also organic and impermanent by nature. It can become suffering and suffering can become happiness again.”
And added, “The function of mindfulness is, first, to recognize the suffering and then to take care of the suffering.” The work of mindfulness is first to recognize the suffering and second to embrace it. A mother taking care of a crying baby naturally will take the child into her arms without suppressing, judging it, or ignoring the crying. Mindfulness is like that mother, recognizing and embracing suffering without judgment.”
Bring your recognition into these functions, and your whole being will be grounded in the ever-present nature of awareness. Soon after you’ll experience a reality where everything that seemed “negative,” “bad,” or “wrong” turns into fertile soil for your expansion and growth. And as high performers, we love that, right?!
Even Phil Jackson, the most rewarded coach in basketball history, said, “The soul of success is surrendering to what is.” That can be the entire Mindfulness practice in one sentence “The soul of mindfulness is surrendering to what is.” We spend so much effort and energy trying to change our experiences rather than letting them dissolve into our ever-present awareness.
So the only real reason to practice mindfulness is to strengthen the recognition, “I am ever-present; I am joy, peace, and freedom,” and develop the capacity to let the unsatisfactory functions of the mind dissolve into this recognition.
Now, how do you envision practicing mindfulness in your daily life now? Comment below or send me an email.