Search Inside Yourself

June 9, 2014 at 7:36 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

There is so much in this quote when you start to unpack it. What is happiness and its relationship to purpose and meaning in our lives. The role of significant individuals and groups in our ongoing growth and development. The challenges of staying true to our values, dreams and aspirations in our complex and interdependent journeys. How the language we use to communicate, with ourselves and others, can have very different meanings and also empowering or disempowering effects on our lives. These are just a few of the themes that come to mind readily as I reflect today.

“It’s good to have an end in mind but in the end what counts is how you travel.” ― Orna Ross

At the end of last week I attended the ‘Search Inside Yourself’ course in Sydney on leadership, effectiveness and wellbeing. The course, developed at Google and based on the latest in neuroscience research, is grounded in mindfulness practices, focusing on the five key domains of emotional intelligence: self awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills (leadership). It was an inspiring two days with so many personal and professional connections to the content and practices that were explored.

“Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts.” ― Allan Lokos

As humans it can be easy to get caught or trapped in our thoughts. Themes like those outlined at the start of this post highlight how we are bombarded with messages, expectations, agendas, plans and choices throughout our lives as we navigate the successes and challenges of being human. We can feel like we are always wading through soft sand and strong tidal rushing water, being dragged, pushed and struggling because of currents or conditions out of our control, or we can choose to cultivate authentic mindfulness practices that provide opportunities to bring an awareness and clarity to our experiences so we can respond rather than react within our journeys of potential.

“Meditation is the tongue of the soul and the language of our spirit.” – Jeremy Taylor

When discussing the practise of meditation at one stage of the course, the facilitators described it as, ‘Not cultivating a particular state, rather becoming aware of the present state’. This explanation really resonated because when I think of those thoughts and critical judgements that have limited engagement, action or taking advantage of opportunity in my own life at particular times, it was a preconceived idea that some particular external state or characteristic (feeling, look, title, etc.) was required for success, rather than honouring what is, through compassionate awareness and presence, and celebrating the fullness and richness of potential through deepening connection to self, others or the world around us.

“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.”― Maya Angelou

One of the practices we examined was journalling. I found one particular prompt that we used at the course very powerful. It was, ‘When I’m at my best, I am…’

How would you respond to this journalling prompt? What role does searching inside yourself play in your life? What awareness, space or clarity might this or other mindfulness practices bring for you?

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