PAUL LENDA: “How to Maintain Awareness Even While You Are Sleeping”

“Mindfulness doesn’t have to end when you go to sleep. You eventually reach a moment when you don’t seem to be sleeping at all. Your body will still rest and rejuvenate, but your mind will remain aware.”

~Paul Lenda

 

You probably know how helpful, and even crucial, mindfulness is to a balanced, calm, and fulfilling life.

Far beyond just something you do while sitting in lotus position with your eyes closed, mindfulness can also be done standing, walking, and lying down. You may not even get the inner calm and visionary insight you would expect from sitting in a traditional meditation posture.

It’s not practical to sit in meditation for more than a few hours a day. What do we do then, in order to stay in conscious awareness of our thoughts? You bring that mindfulness into everything you do during your waking state: mindful eating, mindful drinking, mindful driving, and any other action we experience in our daily lives.

Great! Now you have figured out that you can have continuous conscious awareness of your thoughts in the present moment during your waking life. What will happen when you go to sleep though? You will lose conscious awareness and your subconscious will take over. It seems like all hope is lost, right?

Nope!

Mindfulness doesn’t have to end when you go to sleep. Once you train yourself to maintain conscious awareness during sleep, you will only have a short period when you are in deep sleep (around 15% of the sleep cycle). Once you have developed conscious awareness, the more you train yourself, the more awake your mind feels. You eventually reach a moment when you don’t seem to be sleeping at all. Your body will still rest and rejuvenate, but your mind will remain aware.

How to Stay Mindful During Sleep

  • To start practicing staying mindful while asleep, start by lying down in your bed.
  • Close your eyes and focus on the in and out breaths right up until the moment you fall asleep.
  • Perform a sweep with your awareness over your entire body until you’re asleep.
  • As soon as you wake up, continue your simple mindfulness practices of sweeping and breathing.

Once you master this, upon waking up you will be in a state of mindfulness. You will be attentive and watchful of your thoughts as they come and go and as you go in and out of the state of total calmness, samadhi. With your conscious breathing, you will ebb and flow with the Universe itself.

What’s more, you will stop having night terrors and talking in your sleep. You will sleep and wake up peacefully without anything bothering you.

Even though you lie down in bed and go to sleep, it will be as if your mind didn’t. You will maintain alertness and attention. This is why, once you start maintaining mindfulness during sleep, you will barely ever even dream. If you do have dreams, they are exceptionally lucid, surreal, and vivid ones that don’t feel like dreams at all. Instead, they feel like significant messages or true experiences.

While you watch over your mind with conscious awareness, there doesn’t seem to be any mental processing which needs to be done that is the usual fuel for dreams. You sustain a deep presence and mindfulness within your mind.

When you wake up while being in a state of mindfulness, your mind is bright, lucid, and well-rested. You will find that you are even less irritable and bothered by whatever life may throw at you.

Since your mind stays sharp and responsive, the continuous mindfulness will allow you to examine and explore with ease. You will find it pretty easy to deal with anything that would potentially arise moment to moment.

Cultivating the Mind for Conscious Awareness

You may have previously thought that it would be impossible to have a mind at total peace and serenity while asleep. After all, dreams sometimes seem like such a mishmash of abstract symbols that create intense scenes that makes us forget we are even in those dreams (unless we are lucid while dreaming, which is a fascinating way to play with the dream world).

Once you learn to cultivate mindfulness in both waking life and during sleep, people and situations won’t disturb your peace. You will maintain your clarity of insight into all situations, no matter what they are.

If you do still find that certain situations and circumstances disturb your inner calm, that’s alright. As long as you can become aware of how you are reacting, you can take conscious control over your reactions. You can bring your awareness back to the present moment and remind yourself that whatever is happening, is impermanent and will pass.

There is a sense of empowerment when you truly realize that you have conscious control over your awareness, even in sleep. Start practicing this method every day and night and begin to notice an increase in lucidity and inner peace.

 

~via WakeUp-World.com

SELF-MASTERY FOR THE DAY ~ Eric Raines on Triggers

What are your triggers? What sets you off?

 

Breathe into that feeling, inhale in your smile, exhale out what does not feel good, including your reaction to the trigger.

 

Train yourself not to react negatively to the trigger, then put it into action the next time it appears.

 

Magic.

 

~Eric Raines

 

~via Unleashing Natural Humanity

MATEO SOL: “7 Gut Instincts You Should NEVER Ignore”

In order to fulfill your spiritual purpose in this life, you’ve got to walk the path less traveled.

And to walk the path less traveled, you have to embrace your inner wolf.

It is your inner wolf that will guard, guide, and protect you with courage, integrity, and intelligence.

But here’s the thing: in order to embrace your inner wolf, you’ve got to listen to your gut instinct.

The problem is that our gut instincts are often polluted by fears, prejudice, and mental clutter.

In this article, I want to share with you the seven gut instincts you should never ignore. You’ll also learn how to differentiate the voice of fear from the voice of primal wisdom.

What is the Gut Instinct? 

Your gut instinct is the physical reaction you have to the world around and inside of you.

When you experience an overwhelming “gut feeling,” your body is carrying out a primal response to subconscious information. The ultimate purpose of your gut instinct is to protect you. As your gut instinct is the most ancient and primal “sixth sense” you have, it is the one you can rely upon the most.

One example of your gut instinct in action would be deciding to spontaneously avoid walking down a road at night because something “feels off.” That feeling is your gut instinct warning you that danger is afoot. You may then glimpse an intimidating gang of men down the street as you hurry by — your gut instinct has just saved you from potentially being robbed, beaten up, raped, or worse.

How Does Gut Instinct Work? (and Why You’re an Animal)

Put simply, your body is like the television screen on which your subconscious (the radio waves) transmits its information. When you can learn to read your body, you can learn to accurately tune in to your gut instinct.

We human beings like to believe ourselves to be separate from animals. Yes, we might be more sophisticated. But at our core, we are still animals — human animals. Our primal impulses and evolutionary origins don’t just disappear because we sit and read the newspaper each morning or wipe our asses with lavender-scented toilet paper.

As noted by anthropologist Clifford Geertz:

… man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun.

Rather than get hoity-toity about the fact that we’re only really advanced animals, why not embrace it? By honoring the wisdom of the subconscious mind and its impact on the body to produce ‘gut instinct’ we can save ourselves from a lot of suffering. (This has been proven by the way.)

What’s the Difference Between Gut Instinct and Intuition?

Gut instinct and intuition are often used synonymously. And, yes, they are interconnected. But they aren’t quite the same.

So what’s the difference?

Put simply, gut instinct is your primal wisdom. Intuition is your spiritual wisdom. We need both if we are to walk our spiritual paths with courage and intelligence.

Intuition is very cerebral — it is a calm and clear sense of “knowing.” On the other hand, gut instinct is very visceral and physical — you feel it in your body.

Intuition can be expressed through the body, and the gut instinct can be expressed through intuitive knowing. But generally, both are clearly discernable and strikingly different in their experience.

Also, gut instinct is much more emotional and reactive (as it is wired in the primal brain), whereas intuition is more neutral and calm.

Examples of Gut Instinct

Some call it a “hunch,” others an “inkling,” but in this article, we’ll refer to it as the gut instinct. Here are some examples that are taken from the animal kingdom and human (animal) behavior of gut instinct:

  • A herd of zebra sense danger while grazing. They cannot see the lions lurking in the surrounding savannah, but something is distinctly “off.” One zebra whinnies and the herd begins galloping away vigorously.
  • A herd of elephants meander through the deserts in search of water. Instinctively they know what direction to move in to find their sustenance.
  • A cat sits on the edge of a three-story house and wants to find a way down. She slinks over to the edge and stares at the ground apparently about to jump — but then changes her mind. She climbs down to the first story roof and then makes the jump, apparently aware on an instinctual level that jumping from any higher distance would injure her.
  • A person approaches you at a bar wanting to flirt with you. You start reciprocating, but something feels wrong. You sense a predatory quality about this person. You don’t trust them. You excuse yourself and leave.
  • Two hikers get lost on a trail within the mountains. Without a compass or any way to determine a direction back to camp, they sit silently and tune into the surrounding trees. Suddenly one of them points to the west, “I have a feeling that is the way back!” An hour later they have made it back to home base.
  • You’re driving down a highway at night. Suddenly, the impulse overtakes you to change lanes immediately. You obey the impulse, and a couple of seconds later miss a large spike of glass that could have punctured your tire and rendered you stranded on the side of the road.
  • A young woman is sitting in class at college. Out of the blue, she feels the strange impulse to return home. She ditches the class and catches a taxi, a pit of dread looming in her stomach. When she arrives home, she finds her mother on the floor having a heart attack. If she had ignored her gut instinct, her mother would have most likely died alone.
  • A man has two job offers. One of them pays less, and the other pays more. Logically he would choose the job that pays more, but he can’t shake the knot of dread that forms in his stomach every time he considers accepting the higher paying offer. He decides to choose the job that pays less. Two months later, he is relieved that he chose the right offer as the higher paying company went out of business due to a high profile lawsuit.

I hope you now have a good idea of how the gut instinct operates!

Signs You’ve Experienced a Gut Instinct

Pay attention to these signs:

  • A sudden feeling of dread or fear (that is out of context)
  • A strong urge to do something (feels like an inner nudge or pull)
  • Full-body chills, goosebumps or “tingles” up the spine
  • Nausea or physical uneasiness
  • Sudden hypervigilance (or being on “high alert”)
  • A clear and firm voice within you instructing you to do/not do something

You might experience all of these signs at once or only one or two of them.

Is it Fear? Or is it Your Gut Instinct?

Don’t get them confused!

But also, don’t worry if you have already. Chances are you were never taught about the difference between superficial mental fears and true gut instinct.

The mind can easily fool us, particularly when it comes to gut instinct. After all, we feel our emotions within our body. When you’re scared, you most likely get clammy hands, butterflies, and an increase in heart rate, right?

In a similar fashion, when we experience a gut instinct, we also receive physical sensations.

So how on earth can we distinguish between the two?

My response is to pay attention to your mind. What is the quality of your thoughts? Is your mind racing, frantic, or chaotic? If so, you are experiencing fear.

On the other hand, if your mind is relatively neutral, but your body is experiencing strong reactions (like a sense of impending doom for instance), you are experiencing a gut instinct.

In other words, when you need to distinguish between the voice of fear and your gut instincts, always turn your attention to your mind.

Why?

Gut instincts are spontaneous — they arise out of the blue. They don’t have time to build-up in the brain, therefore, the brain is relatively still and neutral. There is no “hmm, should I? Shouldn’t I?” going on. There is just an immediate DO THIS/DON’T DO THIS.

Fears, on the other hand, build-up. They are typically more vague, nagging, unclear, and tumultuous. If your mind is spinning, if your thoughts are everywhere, you are experiencing fear, not gut instinct.

7 Gut Instincts You Should NEVER Ignore

Obviously, you must be the judge. But there are some situations in life where your gut instincts shine the most.

While it’s easy to brush off most nagging sensations, please never ignore the following ones:

1. “I’m in danger”

Remember that your gut instincts reflect what your subconscious mind already knows. Although you may not be able to pinpoint what exactly the danger is, please listen to this inner warning. It could be the difference between life and death.

2. “They’re in danger”

Yes, you might sound like a lunatic. Yes, you might feel embarrassed or perplexed. But if you genuinely feel that someone is in danger, tell them. You have nothing to lose. You might just prevent the person from making a big mistake or endangering themselves.

3. “This isn’t the right choice”

If you get a strong and clear feeling that what you’re doing isn’t right, pay attention. Even if there is no moral or logical reason why you should be feeling that way, take heed.

4. “I need help”

Your gut instinct doesn’t only warn you of danger, it also helps to preserve your emotional wellbeing. If you receive a strong sensation that you need help (whether physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually), seek it out. Don’t linger.

5. “I need to help them”

At some point in our lives, the overwhelming desire to help someone will arise. There may not be any rational reason why. The other person may appear to be perfectly fine on the surface. But don’t let appearances deceive you. Have a conversation with the person. Ask them how they are. This might make you feel vulnerable or uncomfortable, but you will at the very least make the person feel special, and at the most potentially save their lives.

6. “Something feels off in my body”

Unless you’re a hypochondriac (which is unlikely), your gut instincts rarely lie about the state of your health. If a sudden strong and clear desire arises to see a medical professional, do it. Get a full health assessment, and even if nothing comes up, feel proud of yourself for practicing self-care.

7. “This is it!”

Often when the perfect life calling, spiritual path, job, house, decision, option, etc. comes along, your gut instinct will immediately notify you. If you receive a strong and clear feeling that practically screams “YES” don’t ignore it! This is one of the most important reasons why it’s essential to listen to your gut instinct. It could be the difference between making a life-fulfilling choice and a soul-starving decision.

Trust Your Gut

So long as you’re able to distinguish between the voice of fear and the spontaneous feelings of your gut instinct, it is safe to trust your gut.

Trusting your instincts is an invaluable life skill and one that will tremendously benefit you on the spiritual path. After all, this instinct is built into our very DNA, so why not make the most use out of it?

As a final recommendation, I suggest practicing mindfulness meditation if you struggle to trust your gut. Mindfulness meditation will help you to become aware of your thoughts and body sensations. The more awareness you can develop, the easier it will be to make the distinction — it will become second-nature to you.

 

~via LonerWolf.com

NEZEL PADAYHAG: “10 Tips How To Become The Best Person That You Can Be”

We all have bigger potential within us than we think we have. We can be and do much, much more. We can influence the world on a much bigger scale.

Success in all areas of life depends largely on how you carry yourself. Whether you want to be the best lover or worker, you can’t become one without having to work for it.

You need to be the best that you can be before you can attract the best things and the best people to come your way.

You need to be aware, though, that becoming your best self doesn’t mean things will flow smoothly in your life. You may still encounter hardships along the way.

Yet, these things are easy to handle when you have become the best version of yourself. The suggestions below will help you become one.

10 Tips How To Become The Best Person:

1. Love yourself the way you want to be loved.

There is no one in the world who can provide you the love that you need except your own self. You alone know yourself inside out, including your strengths, weaknesses, failures, successes, and quirkiness.

If you can love yourself despite some of the things that you hate in yourself, then it would be easier for others to love you the same.

In the same way, you can’t love others for who they truly are if you can’t love yourself for who you really are. Make it a point to love yourself genuinely and be energetically vibrant.

2. Go deeper and discover the beauty within you.

As Aristotle pointed out, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” It’s because while growing up, we have been conditioned to believe we need to become someone else.

Seeing yourself other than who you really are may block you from seeing your true beauty.

You are a divine being destined to spark. But you can’t see yourself this way unless you connect to yourself much more deeply.

3. Accept your own uniqueness.

Avoid the pitfall of comparing yourselves with others. You have your own journey and have a different path to take.

Don’t be afraid to express your unique self because that is who you are. You don’t need approval or validation.

Follow your own unfolding and focus on your unique gifts. You alone carry the kind of gift you are intended to share with the world.

4. Forgive and heal yourself.

Carrying grudges decreases your life force. Forgive others even if they don’t ask for it. Forgive yourself too.

Healing begins with the act of forgiveness. When you forgive, you free yourself and heal yourself from all the pains that you may have accumulated for so long.

Once freed, you begin to gain access to your life force.

5. Be aware of your inner critic.

Most often, your inner critic is your worst critic, telling you to be more than what you can be. Don’t fight this inner critic because you will only waste your energy.

Instead, be more compassionate with yourself.

When this critic speaks tell yourself how much you love yourself for all that you are. Love conquers all, your inner critic included.

6. Follow your gut feeling.

Learn to honor your gut feeling or intuition.

Most often, it carries the answers to your questions and serves as a guide in making important decisions.

Your intuition is your inner knowing that only wants the best for you.

7. Practice meditation.

A regular practice of meditation goes a long way.

Meditating for at least 15 to 20 minutes a day is enough to calm your mind, free you from stress, and enhance your well being.

It’s also a great means of connecting with your inner being.

8. Honor your body.

Your body is your physical manifestation in this world. It’s how others connect to you on a physical level.

When it’s in good shape, your connections outside and inside can go smoothly.

Give it the self care that it needs. Feed it with nourishing food, get enough rest, and do physical exercises.

9. Design your best life.

You have in your capacity the full power to design your life the way that inspires you to wake up every morning with vigor and excitement.

You can create a unique living that suits your special needs.

It’s the kind of life that may not be the ideal one in the world’s standards, but one where love prospers and where you can be absolutely happy.

10. Strive to make a difference in your small part of the world.

Wherever you are, you can make a difference in your own unique way.

Your contribution may be small, but giving all your best to the world can create ripples that will ultimately touch the lives of more people than you could expect.

Even becoming the best person that you can be is enough to create a spark in the hearts of others that you may come into contact with.

Remember, the greatest person you are to meet in this world is still within you. Awaken that person and be the best that you can be.

 

~via LifeCoachCode.com

ALETHEIA LUNA: “Being Spiritual Doesn’t Mean Sh*t If You Can’t Hold Space for Others”

“If we ever hope to grow at a deep level and feel authentically connected to others, we need to learn how to hold space for both ourselves and others.”

~Aletheia Luna

 

So, here’s the thing. We might do Instagram-perfect yoga. We might meditate for at least an hour a day. We might pray. Say mantras. Do mudras. Send love to the world. We might have a hoard of crystals and other spiritual trinkets. We might do elaborate daily rituals, eat a cruelty-free whole food diet, and fast every month. We might burn incense, smile all day, say affirmations, and say “love and light” or “namaste” a lot. We might call ourselves spiritual seekers, healers, empaths, intuitives, old souls, or yogis.

But in my humble opinion, all of this doesn’t mean sh*t if we can’t show compassion and be there for others.

The Hypocrisy of Saccharine Spirituality

Firstly, I want to start by saying that I am by no means innocent. I have judged others before, turned a blind eye, shown unkindness, and committed spiritual bypassing — all while under the self-designated label of being “spiritual.”

I think to some extent, we all have. That is why I feel that the topic of this article is so important to cover — hypocrisy is something that we’re all capable of. The tendency is latent within each and every one of us. And I think we all need to understand and work to be aware of that.

But there are some things in life that tend to trigger, bring out, and exacerbate this hypocrisy. In this case, I am referring to a certain popular variety of spirituality. I call it Saccharine Spirituality — and it is a type of spirituality that is defined by a sickly sweet emphasis on “good vibes only” and “love and light” without much depth or real-life rawness.

Saccharine spirituality is the type of spirituality out there that involves worshiping the “feel-good” and “high vibe,” but actively avoids, denies, or shuns anything negative and uncomfortable. Saccharine spirituality is all about feeling empowered, developing self-love, and celebrating forms of spirituality that look good on the surface — but at the same time, it produces a phobia of anything too real, too emotionally challenging, too blood-and-dirt, too “unawakened” or “low vibe.”

And it doesn’t take much to see that saccharine spirituality is alive and thriving more than ever. We can literally see it everywhere: on social media, in real life, and in all spiritual and religious spheres.

I first witnessed saccharine spirituality growing up in the Christian church I was raised in. I remember how the church abandoned, passively shunned, and ignored one of the women who had been attending the church for 20+ years. This woman’s husband had been prosecuted for child molestation and was going to prison. I was the only one who spoke to this gentle soul, despite the fact that we were all supposed to be “brothers and sisters in Christ.”

I now witness this type of abandonment and hypocrisy in the spiritual realm.

I hear and witness self-described sensitive “empaths” show an extraordinary lack of empathy and self-entitled judgment towards others.

I watch “old souls” tear each other apart like animals.

I see spiritual seekers ostracize and react harshly to any person who thinks critically.

I look on as “healers” rush to fix, ignore, predict, or diagnose the suffering of others.

I watch as “psychics/mystics/witches/yogis” (*insert spiritual label here*) love talking and posting about themselves, but ignore meeting others on a deep level.

I’m sorry. I don’t care if you’re a talented healer or psychic. I’m not interested in whether you’re a self-identified empath or spiritual seeker. I don’t want to hear about how much mystical power or intuitive prowess you have. Being spiritual doesn’t mean sh*t if you can’t hold space for people.

What Does Holding Space Mean?

Holding space is very simple. It means being completely present with another person. Holding space means giving another the opportunity to be completely heard, seen, and understood. I’m not talking about trying to fix, give advice to, or pathologize the other person — when I say holding space, I mean it in the most simple way possible: just being 100% there for the person, without trying to change or force advice onto them.

To witness another person and be completely receptive to what they have to share is scarcely practiced. How often have you felt deeply heard, seen, and understood by another? How often has someone sat down with you and genuinely asked: “Hey, share with me how you feel” and held space for all your joy or sorrow? If you’re like most people: pretty rarely.

It’s no wonder that most of us are so emotionally starved. It’s no wonder that most of us are so desperate to be seen.

In a world full of stress, incessant business, emotional isolation, and self-absorption, holding space for someone is the most precious gift you can give. That is why I say that being spiritual doesn’t mean shit without this one important practice. Who cares if you possess extrasensory gifts or can meditate for six hours straight? Who cares if you have deep self-knowledge or can enter alternate planes of consciousness at will?

If you can’t bring those skills into your life in a down-to-earth way, they mean nothing.

If you can’t practically apply them in the blood-and-grit of daily life, they mean nothing.

If you can’t connect or show kindness to others, they mean nothing.

If you can’t sit down with a person and ask “Hi. How are you really?” and actually listen wholeheartedly, don’t even bother.

In the end, if your brand of spirituality encourages self-absorption and a superficial feel-good denial of other’s pain, it’s a waste of time.

“Your pain, your sorrow, your doubts, your longings, your fearful thoughts: they are not mistakes, and they are not asking to be ‘healed.’ They are asking to be held.” ~Jeff Foster

 

How to Hold Space for People

Holding space is about giving space.

Too often we jump to the part where we want to fix, instruct, or heal the person — or even worse, hog the conversation, talk about ourselves, and “one-up” the other person’s pain. But the truth is, most people (including ourselves) are just looking for a person who will sit with them in all of their joy or misery, and BE.

Mindful presence is the core of what holding space means. In other words, holding space means that we simply sit with a person and give them our undivided attention in the spirit of kindness.

“Undivided attention!?” you may think, “I don’t have the energy to do that!” Don’t worry. I realize that holding space for others isn’t always possible. You’re not alone. If you’re anything like me, your energy reserves are very limited. So it’s unrealistic to expect ourselves to always hold space for others, especially when we are tired, stressed, or sick. In which case, don’t be a martyr. Take care of yourself. Have a break. Step away. Have a nap. Top up your energy reservoir.

But if you’re still struggling to hold space for others, there might be a deeper underlying issue that you need to work through.

For example, do you often feel yourself talking over or interrupting others? Do most of your conversations center around your issues, thoughts, and feelings? Do you feel uncomfortable when others get too emotional? Do you find deep topics of conversation unsettling? These are all signs that you aren’t holding space for yourself. In such a case… how can you hold space for others when you aren’t holding space for yourself?

If we ever hope to grow at a deep level and feel authentically connected to others, we need to learn how to hold space for both ourselves and others.

Here’s how to do that.

Holding space for ourselves and others:

1. Mindfully tune into yourself

How can you become receptive and open to others without doing the same for yourself? Tuning into your thoughts and feelings is a practice called mindfulness. It requires you to become curious about what is going on inside of you. And to do that, you’ll need to slow down and breathe a little. Ask yourself, “How am I feeling at the moment?” “What type of thoughts/stories are running through my head?” Also be attentive to your body and notice whatever sensation, ache, or pain you feel. Simply note how you feel and move on with your day. If you need help doing this, I highly recommend that you use an app I use called ‘Calm’ — it will motivate you to develop mindfulness as a skill.

2. Be transparent with yourself

Express how you feel in an authentic way. Allow yourself to be seen by yourself. To do this, find a notebook or journal that you can dedicate to your thoughts and feelings. Journaling every day about what is worrying or concerning you will create more clarity in your life. Not only that but when you make this therapeutic tool a habit, you will feel more emotionally balanced and capable of truly holding space for others.

3. Release pent-up emotions

Don’t allow your emotions to build up inside of you. Find healthy outlets to express them such as through artwork, intense exercise, catharsis, or simply having a good cry. When we are motivated to “help” others out of the need to relieve our own internal discomfort, we’re not being kind. We’re not being empathetic. We’re just not. Instead, we are using others as a way to feel better about ourselves. Finding a safe form of catharsis will allow you to be calm and centered enough to show compassionate attentiveness to yourself and others.

4. Learn to listen more than talk

Master the art of listening. If you are a person who is used to chattering away, experiment with being quiet and allowing others to talk. How do you feel when you don’t talk so much? You might feel a sense of relief, or alternatively, you might feel unseen or ignored. Journal about these feelings. If you feel uncomfortable with allowing others to speak more than you, ask yourself “why?” In what ways are you depending on others to be seen and understood, rather than yourself? Practicing active listening involves making eye contact, letting others speak uninterrupted, indicating that you understand what the person is saying, and listening without judgment.

5. Let your mind be like water

Listen to other people without forming responses in your mind. How often has someone shared something interesting, and you miss the rest of what they say because you’re too busy constructing a clever/insightful reply? It’s tempting to fill the spaces in conversations with thoughts. After all, our minds think around 800 words per minute, compared to 125-150 words we speak per minute. But experiment with listening wholeheartedly to what a person says. If thoughts come into your mind, gently refocus your mind on what the person is saying. Then, after the person has stopped talking, give yourself a few seconds to gather thoughts, then respond. I promise that your response will be much more engaging and interesting to the other person because you have gathered all the nuances and details (instead of prematurely forming a response).

6. Let compassion guide you

The purpose of holding space for another isn’t to be a saint. It isn’t to be a martyr. It is to be entertained or to get karmic brownie points. To hold space for a person is an act of compassion, an expression of love for another human being. It not only makes you feel good, but it also makes the other person feel seen, heard, and understood. What could be more precious than that?

7. Practice with a friend or family member

An easy way to practice holding space is to schedule time every week with someone close to you, and to exchange mindful presence with each other. Notice how it feels to be completely received by another person. Imagine giving that to others on a regular basis!

8. Know your limits and take self-responsibility

Are you tired, cranky, overwhelmed, or otherwise incapable of holding space for another? Relax. It’s normal and 100% fine to feel that way. But make sure that you take responsibility for how you feel.

Final Thoughts

Holding space for others doesn’t mean that you have to be a pushover, doormat, or unnecessarily submissive person. Sometimes you will need to hold space for yourself more than others. Sometimes you will enter long periods of life where you are incapable of being present with others. That is normal. Not all of us can be Eckhart Tolle 24/7. So do the compassionate thing and draw a line. Learn to say a gentle no to others and be OK with it. If someone is becoming overly clingy or needy, be assertive, draw clear boundaries, and step away in a firm but caring manner. It is OK to be selective about who you hold space for, particularly if you dislike the person and struggle to stay present with them. (Hey, we’re all human!)

You might also be short on time, but still wish to hold space for another. In this case, explain to the other that you only have a couple of minutes to spare, or set another date and time to catch up.

Remember, holding space needs to come out of a place of compassion and the desire to help others be seen, heard, and understood. If you are doing it out of obligation, pressure, or duty, take a step back. Change course. Do something else.

The most important ingredient for holding space for another is the ability to hold space for yourself. By genuinely taking the time to wholeheartedly listen to your inner thoughts and feelings, you will be better equipped to show the same to others.

Spirituality is not just about learning to love ourselves. It is also about learning to extend that love and care to others in a down-to-earth way. One of the best and easiest ways to do that is by simply listening to others. You don’t need to always give them pep talks. You don’t need to always rush to prescribe a solution to their problems. Often, what people need the most is just a person who is receptive enough to simply listen without judgment.

To be completely seen, heard, and understood in the presence of another living soul is one of the most healing forces in the world. I hope you take the time to share this gift with others.

 

~via LonerWolf.com