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Living and Leading with Intention
The practice of mindfulness can bring many benefits to your emotional and physical health, as well as to the relationships in your life. Mindfulness is an amazing tool for stress management and overall wellness because it can be used at virtually any time and can quickly bring lasting results. The following mindfulness exercises are simple and convenient, and can lead you to a deeper experience of mindfulness in your daily life.
Awareness is about focusing our attention -- specifically, it is about focusing in the moment. Awareness is a commitment to being present both to our external and internal environment, to our bodies and to our lives. We are used to defining ourselves through our senses, by what and who we pay attention to and with what we come in contact. But if we expand this field of perception to truly notice all that arises within and around us, we could also expand and enrich our experience of the world, of how we move through and are moved by life, and of how we are touched and touch others.
It was Aristotle who first defined our five senses. Each gives us information about our environment and our bodies, yet it is only touch that involves the entire body and our largest organ, the skin. All other sensory organs (eyes, ears, mouth, nose) are in the head, yet the information they provide is directly related to touch. These other four senses are actually sensitizations of neural cells to certain kinds of touch: compressions of air upon the ear drum, chemicals on the nasal membrane and taste buds, and photons on the retina.
These places where the external world meets the internal one are sensory-dependent and have been since before birth. Just six weeks following conception, our sense of touch is already developed, and other senses will quickly follow. At birth and throughout our lives, our senses become essential to our survival, our well-being, and our sense of self.
"Sensory feelings, emotional feelings, and muscular responses are never more solidly fused together than during birth, and from the intensity of this fusion come some of the most long-lasting and generally influential behavior patterns that we will ever develop," writes Deane Juhan in his book Job's Body.
Sensations, in effect, define not only where we are in the world, but who we are in the world. Our senses help us to assess our environment and to determine the appropriate response to it, both in terms of physiological reactions and in how we react emotionally to situations. As our senses inform us about the objects and people around us, there is always a corresponding reaction within us. There really is no fixed point where we begin and the world stops. The further in or out we go, the more we find that the boundary between our environment and our physiological and psychological feelings is blurred -- or maybe cleared, if we choose to listen with all of our being and to feel internally as much as we do externally.
You are special here in my sacred space.
pittsburgh, PA 15206