In the previous two posts there was the invitation to consider the importance and value of Silence and Stillness in your life.
In many ways Silence and Stillness are precursors to what we could call Mindfulness.
Mindfulness has been described as that 'state' where the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through.
How many of you remember a parent or a teacher suggesting that you 'pay attention'?
Well in one sense what they were asking you to do was to focus on the thing that you are doing.
In the last blog we met 'Domino' and "Dorey', two characters who manage their attention in, complementary ways.
Domino placed all of her tasks in a row, one after the other, sequentially.
Dorey considered and tackled tasks in a more random, scattered way.
A number of years ago the Anton Gregorc created an inventory, a measure, of thinking skills he defined as being Abstract, Random, Concrete and Sequential.
Concrete thinkers dealt better with 'concrete' things - practical, down to earth as it were.
Abstract thinkers dealt better with ideas, concepts, - the more intangible things.
Random thinkers, well they're Dorey and Sequential thinkers are surprise, surprise Domino.
So we can be Concrete Domino's or Concrete Dorey's...
Abstract Dorey's and Abstract Dominos.
Which best describes you?
Again it's not that one is better than the other, though it may be that in specific contexts one is more effective than the other.
WHICH in many ways has very little to do with mindfulness, since mindfulness is less concerned with how you are thinking, but more concerned with WHAT you are thinking - the focus of your attention.
Learning to be fully present 'in the moment' is about being able to become aware of your sensory experiences of 'the now'; not the plans for tomorrow or the memories of a yesterday. It is about becoming aware of your ability to 'focus' and how you can 'own that focus'.
We will explore this more in a later post...
For now consider where you place your attention from moment to moment and ask yourself who or what is making the choice to direct what you are paying attention to.
Sitting in silence, and being still whilst pondering this question may lead you to some interesting places...
So , you've cracked SILENCE (see last post) and that allows you to develop a sense of stillness - physical and mental.
Not only are our worlds full of sounds, they are full of 'actions' too.
We need to be here, there and everywhere...
Our minds are reviewing, rehearsing, doing, planning and acting - often all at the same time. Some of us have our tasks and therefore focus fixed our dominoes. A series of actions and plans lined up like dominoes. Some of us work on clusters of tasks at the same time, apparently multi-tasking. Those familiar with the Pixar film 'Finding Nemo' will be familiar with Dorey.
So are you Domino or Dorey?
Neither is better than the other, they're just different.
Domino folks take things a task at a time and could lose track of the 'big picture'
Dorey's move from task-to-task, use a lot of energy and whilst holding onto the bigger picture, may end up with numerous half-started - half-completed tasks.
The issue is not about effectiveness, but about 'attention'.
Where is attention being placed?
Cognitive Psychologists are very interested in the nature of 'attention' and in particular how we decide where to place our attention (focus). If we can accept that it is our unconscious mind that selects what our consciousness 'needs to focus on', the we can question the nature of the values, attitudes and beliefs which inform that unconscious filter.
Whether the glass is half full or half empty is a matter of perception based upon values and attitudes.
So just as we can practice silence, we can practise stillness.
Take a few moments to focus on being still, the quality of the moment and being passive within it.
Silence, Stillness are the building blocks of mindfulness.
I'm happy to be sharing these blog postings with White Wolf Inspirations and Wise Words for You. Welcome readers of that blog and come join me on www.dralanbjones.com and www.alanjonesmindcoach.
Silence has a power all of its own...
There is a dictum I use and often reflect upon...
Uncertainty Talks, Knowledge Speaks and Wisdom Listens
Listening implies focus and silence; space for a consideration of what has been heard.
In drama and story-telling there is a genuine understanding of the power of silence; the dramatic pause before some kind of revelation. In conversations however there seems to be some kind of imperative to fill the spaces between words and the gaps between sentences.
Are the words, questions and comments really required?
Or would silence best be honoured?
Those who gabble across the conversational spaces left by others often demonstrate their egotism or uncertainty.
Those who seek to bring every shared story back to their story display a 'me me me' child-like narcissism which is unattractive in anyone over the age of 8.
Silence is a flower which needs to be nurtured and given space to bloom...
Silence is the gift waiting to be opened
Silence is the next moment waiting to be born
Silence is practice that we could not only adopt in our conversations but in our daily lives.
Every moment of our waking day is punctuated with noise. The noise of the traffic, the office, the children. The noise of the smartphone ringtone, computer 'pings' and other pieces of electronic gadgetry which seems to rule our lives.
When we get home there's the background 'white noise' of the television; the family chit-chat...
So much sound!
We can decide to turn some of it OFF rather than simply 'TUNING IT OUT'.
Create some space for silence in your life, then begin to consider stillness.
Dr Alan B Jones
Director Inspire NLP
Coach, Trainer, Author