Everyone seems to want to work faster, stronger, smarter, better and cheaper.
But is that actually what drives optimal performance? Even if it does, do we really need yet another superlative to elevate our pulses and spike our blood pressure into the red zone?
In my experience, the force multiplier of human potential is not any of those things. What has far more power is the practice of being present and conscious with ourselves, the other person and the space between and around us. That’s what gives us access to more change, and therefore, gives us more leverage to make an impact the world.
Seigel writes in his textbook on intersubjectivity that awareness is so empowering because it allows a person to have choice. To have the ability to change from an automatic mode of being, to one of active engagement with the world. Awareness permits people to transform the way interactions are unfolding as new modes of sharing energy and information can be introduced to alter old, engrained patterns.
Clearly, the doctor isn’t talking about changing our minds every three seconds based on new information. What he suggests is, when we engaging with awareness as we connect with another person, we won’t be so married to who we are all the time.
We can actually sit down, human to human, and stay present to all of the feelings that arise.
Like the fact that we might be wrong about our beliefs. Or we might be making absurd assumptions about this individual and their intentions. Or we might have no idea what battle the other person is fighting right now. Simply being aware of those possibilities is precisely what invites into the present moment to concrete consciousness with the other.
Who knows what we might discover about ourselves and the world?
This whole concept reminds me of a homework assignment my music professor gave at the end of our very first class. Pick a song, he said, and listen to it four times.
First, listen to the song as you normally world.
The second time, try only listening to the words.
Third, only listen to the melody.
And for the last time, only listen to the rhythms.
Talk about awareness. Giving my ears that choice in was not only fun, not only educational, but surprisingly empowering.
Because when you practice that exercise a dozen or so times, your brain and body become attuned to specific qualities in songs. And soon it becomes easy to apply that same awareness to any experience, musical or otherwise.
How are you training your embodied awareness?
Remember, it’s a resource that’s available to you at any moment. It can help you see the world for what it is, rather than what you hope or need it to be.
From that grounded, clear place, it’s amazing what kinds of understanding becomes possible.
Do you need more speed or more presence?