By Leo Gura - March 5, 2014 | 34 Comments
How to actually use mindfulness to do advanced personal development and transform your life.
Hey, this is Leo from Actualized.org, and in this video we’re going to talk about mindfulness.
Let us crack into the topic of mindfulness. This is a really important topic. I think you should start to really think about this, and develop mindfulness, because it can have some powerful effects on your life.
No Theory, Just Practice
Let’s crack into what mindfulness is. I’m going to give you some practical ways to start developing mindfulness, without just theorising about it. I’m going to tell you how you can actually start developing it. This is going to be really cool, really fast, really practical.
Before we get into that, though, let’s talk about why mindfulness is important. Why you want to care about mindfulness is, basically, because it’s going to make you happy. It’s going to make you calm and peaceful. It’s going to get you high performance in your career or whatever else you’re out there doing in your life.
That is why I love mindfulness. It can lead to some really profound realisations down the road, if you keep really practicing it and doing it. It’s about stopping suffering. It’s about how do you stop suffering. I think all of us have this question, all of us are looking for something more in our lives.
We’re doing this, we’re doing that, we’re doing relationships, we’re doing our work, and then we’re wondering “How can I get rid of some of this pain I’m having?” What you’re having there is suffering. You’re suffering in some way, in different parts of your life, and you’re always looking for ways to eliminate that suffering.
Mindfulness is very powerful for that. Let’s talk about what mindfulness is. Mindfulness, quite simply, is being in the moment and having an observation of yourself. In your mind, it’s as though you stepped out of yourself, stepped out of your body, stepped out of your mind, and you’re just observing yourself, without any sort of judgement, without any sort of criticism, without any sort of additional thought.
All you’re doing is observing yourself, so it’s like an extra layer that you’re adding, like an extra cognitive layer you’re adding into your everyday activities, where you’re just observing yourself. You’re looking at yourself as though you were observing a chimp in a zoo.
You know how a social scientist or an anthropologist or whoever studies chimps will go into a zoo and sit there, and just sit near the chimp cage and watch the chimps do their thing? If that scientist is trying to be objective, that scientist is trying to sit there and not add any of his own ideas to what the chimps are doing, he’s sitting there and recording notes on what the chimps are doing.
“OK, that chimp just ran across from one side of the cage to the next.” Then he writes that down. Then he sees another chimp go and hit this chimp in the head with his fist. He writes that down. He doesn’t judge it, he just writes it down. He’s just observing. It’s like he’s sitting there with a camera, recording what the chimps are doing.
That’s what mindfulness is. Because we are self-conscious beings, we have the ability to look at yourself and to introspect. That is how you can be more mindful. You can start to observe yourself, notice what is happening throughout your day.
You might say “Well I already know what’s going on. I’m conscious. I know what I did yesterday, I know what I’m doing today. I know what I just did before I sat down to watch this video. Aren’t I doing that already?”
The answer is “No, you’re not doing it already.” This is something, when you actually start doing it, you’ll start to realise how much you were missing out on. One thing that is kind of a shocking revelation, if you haven’t really studied this stuff and you haven’t really done any consciousness work through meditation or contemplation, then you’re actually going to be shocked by how little consciousness you exhibit throughout your day.
You’re going to be shocked at how much of a stimulus-response animal you are. All you’re doing is behaving like a chimp. You’re walking through life and you’re doing your chimp things, and you’re behaving like a chimp, not even knowing that somebody is watching you. You’re just doing it. You’re just doing stuff.
You Are Unaware
You’re not aware of what you’re doing. You’re not really conscious. This is such a deep point, I’ll probably have to shoot a whole new video just on that one point, because Peter Uspensky in his book, The Psychology Of Man’s Possible Evolution, talks about the fact that we are not conscious of what we do in our day. Most of us are not.
The way you start to develop consciousness is by starting to be more mindful, starting to notice what you’re doing. What does this mean? What does it mean to be noticing what you’re doing? First of all, let’s start off by having you be aware of the mundane little tasks you’re doing throughout your day.
The next time you sit down to have some lunch or dinner, any kind of food, I just want you to be aware that you’re sitting down and having some food. Do it. Try it. Try that as a little test. Are you going to be able to do it? It’s harder than you think it is.
Just sit down, and remember, try to be conscious of the fact that you’re sitting down to eat some food. Don’t think about it too much. It’s just an observation.
Also, the next time you walk out of your front door of your house or apartment, or you walk back in, I want you to be aware of the fact that you were doing that. This is what it takes to start building up mindfulness.
What you’re going to notice if you start doing this is that it’s actually very difficult, and that you’re forgetting all the time, and that you’re actually not aware of what it is the hell that you’re doing.
A little exercise for you right now, you can pause the video and do this. What I want you to do is stop, pause the video and think of yourself. Think of your names. Say your names. I’ll pretend like I’m doing it right now.
I would turn it off, and I would get my stopwatch, and I would try to look at that clock and while I’m doing that I’m thinking of myself. Thinking of myself, Leo. I’m thinking of Leo. Leo, Leo, I am Leo. Try to just think about that, don’t say anything. Try to just think about that for sixty seconds.
Notice what happens. What you’re going to notice is that you can’t even do it for sixty seconds. Some thought is going to come up, and it’s going to distract you. Your consciousness is going to wander. You’re also going to notice, that at that point, when you’re actually thinking about yourself, you’re observing yourself and you’re conscious, you’re really self-conscious.
Notice how different that is from the moment before you did the exercise, and the whole day that went on today, or the whole day that went on yesterday. Notice how you just ran through your whole day, until up to this point, where I actually forced you to focus your consciousness by doing this exercise.
That will start to get you to realise that you are not as conscious as you think. That really you are asleep, you are not conscious at all. What you’ve got to start to do is then start to bring awareness to things throughout your day.
Accept Your Negative Emotions
The other thing I want you to really start to bring awareness to is the most difficult thing to bring awareness to, and you know what that is? Negative emotions. The next time — this is the best way to build mindfulness — the next time you have an emotional episode where you get angry at someone, you get frustrated, you want to yell at them, you get sad, you get depressed, you start to worry, you get anxious, you start to get pessimistic or down on yourself, you start to feel very lonely and sad, you start to feel overwhelmed, very stressed, anything negative, anything emotional, especially where you tend to then do stupid things as a result, that is where you’re the least conscious.
What you’ve got to do, as an exercise, is next time that’s happening to you notice it. Remember to notice it. Notice it and be aware. Here’s how it’s going to look. Let’s say some guy just cut me off. I’m on my way to work, I’ve got an important project and this guy just cut me off and almost bumped into me on the road.
Now I’m furious. I’m irritated. I’m not yelling at him, but it ruins my mood. I’m thinking “God damn it, that fucking guy.” You’re thinking that. Normally, you would think all that, and then you would go into a tailspin of thought, like a cyclone of thought, it just goes all over the place.
An Extra Layer
Instead, what you do if you’re trying to be mindful, is run that additional layer of mental processing and say “OK, let this thought process burn itself out. This anger, let it run itself out.” But you’re watching it, you’re an observer. You’re like a third party observer. You’re like that scientist watching that chimp.
Pretend that you’re the chimp and you’re just watching yourself. Just watch yourself be angry about that guy. Watch your thoughts. I might have thoughts like “God damn it, how could that guy do that? I’m always so polite on the road, I observe proper etiquette. I always turn my signals on. This guy just cut me off like that. That’s was so dangerous of him. What if I had my kids in the car and we actually had a crash and the car flipped over? It’s raining now, so it’s even double dangerous. Then I wouldn’t have been able to make this meeting.”
This whole thought process is going through. Watch it. Don’t stop it, let it run through. Don’t judge it. Don’t tell yourself this is bad. Don’t tell yourself it’s bad to be angry. Just let it run through, but watch it.
Wow. That is so powerful. If you can do that, and you can start doing that consistently, this is the key to developing emotional mastery. It’s the key to developing real self-consciousness, self-awareness and control over your life. The more you start to do this, the more control you’re going to develop, the more self-aware you’re going to become, and the less things will start to bother you.
Your suffering will diminish. What’s going to happen is when you take that third person perspective, and you’re mindful of everything that’s going on in your life, then you’re no longer identifying with the pain and suffering of everything. You’re no longer reacting, you’re not a stimulus-response animal.
You can actually have something come into your life that is “painful or bad”, but because you can detach yourself from it, it’s not really going to affect you. Then, hopefully you can imagine the level of performance that can get you in life.
It takes a little bit of vision to see this, but imagine the performance you could have in your life, if something bad happened to you and you did not have to react to it or suffer from it. Can you imagine what that can do for you?
Can you imagine, if you’re running your business, and you lose your biggest client, but instead of getting butthurt about it, and yelling at your employees and causing this big ruckus, and maybe getting depressed about the whole outlook of your business, instead of that you were completely calm. You were able to take the proper action to go on with your business.
Could you imagine the level of difference that could have? Those things stack up. That’s one event, because that crazy business problem, what do you do? You go home, and then you’ve got a problem at home with your relationship. Then what do you do after that? You might go drinking at the bar, and you’ve got a problem there.
Then on the weekend, you’ve got some other problem. This stuff stacks up. Your life is full of problems. Think about what you could do if those problems were dissolved. You can dissolve them with enough mindfulness.
Do Not Forget
I want you to start applying this stuff. Start really applying yourself. This is so powerful. It’s going to be tricky at first, because you’re going to forget. You’re going to forget to be mindful of the fact that you’re eating a meal. You’re going to forget to be mindful of the fact that you’re walking out the door. You’re certainly going to forget to be mindful of the fact that you’re pissed off at somebody, or that you’re sad or depressed, or afraid.
You’re just going to forget this things. You’re going to identify with it, and that’s when your life goes downhill, because you suffer and your actions then reflect your suffering. Actions reflect suffering lead to very poor results.
Not to mention that you’re not calm, you’re not happy, because you’re suffering all the time. Why do you want that?
That is it. The last point I’m going to make is if you really want to develop more mindfulness, the most practical thing you can do besides the little exercises that I gave you here is to start meditation. Meditate for twenty minutes every day, I recommend you commit for the rest of your life to doing that.
Find the time. Fix your schedule so you can do that. I’ve got other videos that talk about meditation, give you specific techniques and tips for how to get a meditation practice in place.
This is Leo signing off on mindfulness. Go ahead and apply this stuff. Leave your comments, please. Also, like this and share this, so that other people can notice it. I want your comments because I do use them as feedback to polish up my videos, polish up my delivery. I also just love to hear some intelligent discussion. That’s always excites me.
It gives me ideas for new content to shoot. If you have some idea, if there’s some concept you don’t understand around mindfulness, then go ahead and leave me your comment. Maybe I’ll shoot a new video about it next week.
I’m going to be signing off. Go ahead and subscribe to the newsletter at Actualized.org. We have exclusive videos. You can sign up right now and get an exclusive bonus, with a nineteen part video series for busting your limiting beliefs. You can also win two hours of free coaching that I give away every month to one of my subscribers. Check that out and sign up.