The Power of Yes: An Approach to Mindfulness

All Day Awareness or mindfulness in daily activity is the extension of formal meditation practice into your daily life. Over time I have found this practice to be extremely powerful in transforming my outlook on life, my happiness, my capacity to witness emotions, my ability to concentrate, my contentment in difficult situations, my ability to reason and in general my feeling of well-being.

Embracing all of (your) reality.
But there is an important aspect to this practice that I want to talk about in this article. And that is how to approach this state of radical openness of whatever arises in the present moment. 

When you practice awareness of the senses and your thoughts, automatically another function of your thoughts will arise. Your thoughts (or your ego) will try to hijack your higher state of awareness. You will start to hear comments about your mindful observer mode. Thoughts will try to take over this new position of being aware of the rest of your experience. This happens in really sneaky ways. If you are mindful you will hear a lot of commentary when you witness your current experience. Comments about other thoughts, about emotions, about sounds, sights and feelings. And those commentary thoughts will claim to be the observer, it is easy to identify with those commentary thoughts. Include those commentary thoughts also in your mindful observation. Treat them as any other sensations. This is difficult step and requires and additional level of mindfulness.

And the main reason for this article is the attitude with which we approach mindfulness. It is like the color of the filter through which we observe our moment to moment experience. As soon as an  experience has some special meaning to you, your mind is going to judge and comment on it. And with applying the right filter we can learn and embrace more of what we experience. And the filter I recommend is a Yes to all of your experience. 

What does this mean? Welcome everything. Be of no resistance to what appears in your consciousness. Be a superconductor. Let everything flow through you. Open the flood-gates as wide as possible. 

A Yes feels widening and freeing, whereas a No feels constricting and limiting. Allow yourself to feel also the emotions that are commonly labeled as bad. You begin to embrace the full spectrum of your humanness. Experience will become richer. You will learn that challenging emotions only become problematic when you try to resist them. We cannot change what actually exists. We can only observe and learn, so that we may create a different future. 
When you allow all emotions to flow through you, they quickly resolve and you can observe them with an open and genuine interest, like a scientist who wants to learn more about how his inner mind works. 

Learning by observation greatly helped me to understand situations and my resulting judgments and desires. Often times the root causes will be revealed, but without a rational explanation. Instead you will know in every moment the underlying emotions that triggered your current state of mind. This is a kind of self-knowledge that only observation and no rational talk-psychotherapy can teach. 

You always have the possibility to control the level of openness though. Should the emotions become too overwhelming ,for example when you are dealing with some serious trauma, you can still put the lid on. But as long as you remain firmly rooted in the presence of wide open awareness, you will feel that none of the content that appears can actually hurt you. Your identification with any content in your awareness will greatly decrease. You realize there is no difference between you and consciousness. There never was any separation. You are consciousness. And all that ever happens IS. Changing, fleeting, ultimately groundless and substance-less, self-aware appearances. On a deeper level of reality consciousness is not separated from that which appears. It is all just ISness as different forms and in different dimensions (as the sensory experiences and thoughts). 

Summary of the benefits to approaching your experience with a Yes instead of a No:
  • negative emotions don't last as long the less we resist them
  • as an open observer we are not longer fully controlled by our emotions 
  • we gain the ability to do the best in more and more situations
  • from observation we can learn where our current motivations are grounded in
  • our experience becomes richer and we act more authentically
  • we open ourselves up to have realizations about deeper aspects of reality
  • we will feel happier with our moment to moment experience
  • fears and worries have less of grip over us
  • getting lost in mental scenarios about the future or past is less likely