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I've discovered that there is one quick and easy solution to every single problem in life. The ONE THING that is our human SUPERPOWER!
I got asked, "What is your superpower?" while camping at a festival with friends a few years ago. One girlfriend said she had a very sharp memory for details. She can remember small details about people when she meets them for the first time, even years later. Another friend said he can take a beer bottle cap off with his bare teeth. Very useful! Especially while we were all camping.
But I couldn't answer. I couldn't think of a single outstanding thing about myself. It kind of bothered me that I never answered, too. I kept asking myself, months and months later, "What is my superpower? What is my superpower? What can I even do?" I didn't know.
Until last week.
It occurred to me that I do have a superpower--that all of us humans have the same one--but like a young Jedi we just don't know how to use it yet. It's dormant and unknown to most of us. And yet it really is the secret to solving all our problems--it's the solution to everything we face in life.
Let's see if you can guess this superpower we all have:
What is the one thing that could help you focus and get more done in a day?
Or know when you are full or hungry so that you can maintain a healthy body weight?
The thing that catches what you think and how you feel and then decides what you are going to think and feel?
The only thing that can do all that is our mind awareness -- the awareness OF our own mind and how it works.
Mindfulness, then, is our true superpower. It's the one thing at the bottom of every action, every thought, every feeling, and our entire being.
It's also the thing that we can harness and use to get more of what we want from ourselves and this world.
It's life's ass-kicking awesome sauce we're all seeking, yet fail to see that we all already own!
The more aware we are of ourselves, the more empowered we are in the world.
Want to lose weight? Only eat when you become aware that you are hungry. Then, become aware of when you feel full and stop eating. Be aware of what you're thinking when you want to eat but you're not hungry. And why. Awareness is the key to managing a healthy body!
Do you want to achieve more in a day? Become aware of your surroundings so that you can cut out all distractions. Be aware of what you are doing every minute so that you can bring your focus back to the thing you are trying to do. Awareness is the key to managing our time and mental focus!
Are your thoughts and feelings not working for you? Be aware of what you think so that you can manage your feelings and decide what you want to think and feel. Awareness is the key to managing our thoughts and feelings!
So, if all of us have this superpower of awareness, why do so few of us hone it to vanquish the forces of evil in our lives so that the good can conquer all?
Because simply, most of us are not aware that this is, in fact, our true superpower. We're always looking outside of ourselves for solutions.
And because we are terribly, awfully distracted. Distracted by technology, advertising, and by the competitive pace of capitalism, which imposes an extremely high tax of constant self-regulation on each of us while seeding a neurosis of lack and desire inside of us.
We're told that money, other people, or things will make us happy and fill the void, but really that void is only empty because we haven't filled it with our own power! The power we already own. It just needs to be acknowledged that it exists and then worked on so that it can get stronger, and make us even more aware.
Once we free up our mental space from external distractions and pressures, there's less mental junk in the way of self-reflection and looking inward for answers, rather than outward. Then we discover what we can do because we learn everything about ourselves. How every cog spins. Every tic and every tock.
Only then can we make adjustments to change ourselves to get more of what we want from ourselves and the world.
Awareness takes practice, it takes courage, it takes time, and it takes getting free from distractions.
We cannot trace a string of thoughts when we are in a distracted state, so the more time we can spend in silence or in meditation, the more aware we will become of how we think and feel. Time for self-reflection strengthens self-awareness.
One way I practice self-awareness is to keep a diary. I also meditate for at least 20 minutes every weekday before I start work.
Meditation puts the brakes on thinking. It clears out the mental junk you don't need.
But I think the real work of awareness is done not in hourly snippets out of a day, but throughout every single moment of the day, second by second.
Even as we are distracted. Then you hit a new level of awareness. More Jedi-like.
And this is when you are able to STOP yourself from checking Facebook notifications again, for the tenth time in a day.
Or having a third glass of wine on a Monday night.
This is when you can get three times as much done in a day, which is, thankfully, something I've been experiencing lately.
I switch my phone completely OFF and I stop myself from getting up to make tea or go to the toilet. I get the work done first.
All the time I spend meditating or in total silence is making me feel like I really do have a superpower that I never had before.
And all it is is a heightened awareness of my thoughts and feelings.
Are you willing to use your superpower to transform yourself and your life now?
Are you willing to mine your own mind and uncover the reasons you do or don't do things?
Take one issue that your struggling with right now in your life. Switch off your devices, get free of distractions, and get out a piece of paper. Go deep inside your own thought processes and feelings. Analyze yourself. Write everything down in a stream-of-consciousness style. Hold NOTHING back. Keep writing until you exhaust every thought. Then go back and look at how it all connects.
Do you see cyclical thoughts? Thoughts you'd rather not have?
The more you do this, the more you will know about yourself, and the stronger you will get.
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