People often share with me their “aha moment” of pleasant surprise when they first realize what the name of our company, Being First, means.
Being First is a double entendre: If you want to be first – win, perform your best, increase market share, or any other objective you may have – then put your “Being” first. Our name extolls the truth that excellence and achievement on the outside is ultimately enabled by your development on the inside.
Mindfulness is the start of your self-development that can lead to greater success in every aspect of your life. It is not the end game, but it is the beginning.
Put Your Being First
Putting your Being first means transforming and letting go of your ego’s self-limiting beliefs, behaviors, and stories so the full potential of your true, authentic self and your capability can be expressed in what you do. Putting your Being first leads to optimal performance. So, how do we accomplish this?
Mindfulness and Being
The way to bring ourselves more into our Being is through mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake to what is occurring; being consciously aware of what is happening around and within you. You might think you are consciously aware anytime you are awake and not sleeping, but this is far from true.
There are many levels of awareness. You've probably had this common experience of driving in city traffic, perhaps on the freeway going home after a long day. After driving many miles, where traffic has slowed down and sped up on many occasions, perhaps even stopped at times, suddenly you notice your exit. You quickly make your way to the right lane and you wonder, in a bit of shock, “Where have I been the last 15 minutes?” You realize you have been driving, obviously successfully, but cannot remember a thing about the journey. You were lost in thought. Still aware, but “unconsciously” aware.
At other times, of course, you are aware of your surroundings and not lost in thought. We might call this “simple awareness.” This is not the same as “mindfulness.”
Mindfulness goes beyond simple awareness. Mindfulness is conscious awareness. It refers to the inner state where you are aware of what you are aware of.
Pause and think about this slowly. Be with it until it makes sense.
When mindful, you are not simply looking out through your eyes, or listening out through your ears, or feeling out through your body and collecting the information that comes through your senses and brings on your experience. Rather, you are witnessing and observing this awareness process itself. You are aware of what your senses are aware of. You are awake to your inner awareness, that which is being aware of what your senses are picking up.
How to Practice Mindfulness
When mindful, you are residing in your inner Witness or Observer – in your Being. From this state of heightened awareness, you can see your mind in action. This is conscious awareness.
As you develop mindfulness over time, your awareness will move more and more from the outside to the inside. You will go from simply being aware of your external world to being more fully aware of your internal world. Ultimately, with practice, you will become able to be aware of your external reality while being fully aware of your internal reality.
Your Internal World Shapes Reality
Being aware of your internal world is important because ultimately, what occurs for you on the inside determines your life on the outside. You always have inner workings, things going on inside you, even when you're sleeping. What goes on inside – in your mind and emotions – determines your experience, what you see and don't see, how you interpret information, the conclusions and decisions you make, the actions you take, and how you take them. Put succinctly, mindset is causative. What you sow within, you reap in your results and outcomes.
As we develop mindfulness, we go deeper inside ourselves and discover more of who we are. Mindfulness expands awareness from our exterior world to the depths of our interior. We first become mindful of what is occurring around us, consciously aware in a more heightened and alert state. Over time, we notice our behaviors, and the patterns in our behaviors and the situations that trigger those behaviors. Then, slowly, we become aware of our emotions and the emotional patterns that drive our behaviors. Going more deeply within, we begin to see the patterns in our thinking and our beliefs and how those generate our emotional and behavioral patterns. We begin to have deeper understanding of who we are; both our strengths and our weaknesses.
Research shows that less than half the human population is aware of their interior much, if any at all. They focus on the outside and miss what is occurring on the inside. This is sad, but true. These folks are victims to their outer circumstances. Their ego’s conditioning generates internal reactions to external situations. Without awareness of their interior, they simply respond based on that conditioning. That means their outcomes are generated not by their inner choice or capability, but rather, their ego’s story. This is the essence of dis-empowerment where one gives up their power to their ego’s shenanigans.
Practicing Mindfulness: The Key to Self-Mastery
Mindfulness is the key that unlocks the door to self-mastery. I said earlier that mindfulness is not the be-all, end-all. Why? Because mindfulness simply makes us consciously aware of our interiors. Once aware, we must learn to transform our self-limiting mindsets, emotions, and behaviors. This is “the work.” Doing this inner work generates greater freedom of choice, performance, and joy. Mindfulness and personal transformation bring us into our Beings where all things become possible.