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At the Threshold of Awareness

Hi there, this is your guide Josh Lane, author of the book Conscious Nature. Welcome back for today’s lesson in the Mindfulness In Nature course.

In the last lesson, we explored how connecting with the six directions around us helps you to find your way into the seventh direction, which is your center of Being.

Today we’re going to build on this theme, and continue deepening awareness of Being in our center while immersed in daily life. There is a saying that “meditation is practice for life.” We can also reverse that, and say that “life is a practice of meditation.”

Your quality time at the Meditation Spot helps you access a deeper sense of peace and awareness that you can begin to carry into the rest of your day. Likewise, it’s helpful to build small, potent moments of awareness practice into key points peppered throughout your day.

Why is this ongoing practice important? Let’s look at a couple of reasons.

First, when we build in touchpoints for awareness along the way, we give ourselves micro-resets that help the brain and nervous system to restore attention and refocus creativity. This boosts well-being and helps us focus on what’s most important.

Second, when we practice being present and attentive, we learn to build a powerful internal state of congruence. When you are congruent, your mind, emotions, and senses become aligned in one direction, working together to help you in whatever you are doing. This is the unified expressive power of your internal Being, and all of these skills we are practicing in this course are designed to help us better access this state of alignment.

Set Shifting

There’s a phenomenon called “Set shifting” that comes into play here. When you are fully immersed in a task, your brain’s resources are directed to help you focus and attend to whatever you are doing. Now, there is a real cost in attention to multi-tasking. Should a distraction arise that pulls you away, it can take about twenty minutes to return your mindset fully back to the original task.

Throughout the day, we also have to shift our mindset towards different tasks. Some of the big ones of course are preparing for the day, getting into work or focus mode, and switching out of work mode and into the needs of family time, relaxation time, and then going to sleep.

Each of these areas requires its own unique mindset, and some of them may feel at odds with each other. Mindfulness training can help you to experience these shifts with more intentionality and ease, to fully focus your brain’s resources on what’s most helpful in that time.

Meditation: Clearing and Shifting Your Mindset

Here’s a meditation I find helpful to clear the mental chalkboard in between tasks, that I invite you to join me in trying now:

Spend a minute or two noticing your breathing. Just breathe in and out, with a few nice deep breaths. Do this now…

With each breath, relax further into the feeling of your body… take a few breaths this way now, allowing your awareness to settle into your body, like a stone sinking slowly downwards into a pond…

In this state of deepening relaxation, become aware of the sounds, sights, smells, and other sensations around you. Spend a few moments now simply breathing, relaxing, and being aware of your senses at this moment….

Now return to the breath…

With each breath, you allow yourself to relax more and more into your body. Senses its weight, its heaviness being pulled down towards the Earth beneath you.

As you relax deeper and deeper, imagine any old information or details that you no longer need, simply dissolving away and melting off into the ground. Take a few breaths this way, relaxing and allowing these things to melt away now…

And now that you have allowed the past to melt away, you may invite the vitality of Nature to come in and fill you with renewed energy for what’s ahead… take a few breaths now, imagining and feeling Nature’s energy filling you up from head to toe… do this now…

Filled with Nature’s energy, imagine for a moment the next space you are moving into in your day… sense yourself going about this with peace and effectiveness, with ease and flow… see and sense this now…

And when you are ready, continue on from this mindset meditation to the next part of your day.

OK, so that is a practice I invite you to explore at different points during your day. It can be as simple as taking a few breaths, getting into your senses for a moment, and feeling yourself in your center. Or, you can use this recording to guide you a bit deeper, as we just did.

A great question to ask yourself periodically throughout your day is, “Am I feeling Congruent or not? Am I “all in one place” or spread out? Check-in with your thoughts, your emotions, and your senses.

Some helpful transition moments when you might consider applying this include:

Opening or passing through a doorway, either going inside or outside of the home or workspace.

Getting in or out of a vehicle.

Approaching your Meditation Spot.

At Meals and when beginning other daily routines.

Find two or three small moments to apply this idea today, and notice the results for your attention and well-being. And when you’re ready, we’ll continue in the next lesson, where we’ll explore a technique to mindfully focus the awareness and perception, through the power of Questions.

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Josh Lane