I’ve been practicing and teaching Mindfulness for several years, and I can truthfully say that, because of it, I’ve experienced heightened states of consciousness. By allowing myself to be fully present in a moment, my mind has gone into such a deep mental state that it felt trancelike, and at times, as if I were in a wakeful dream.
Studies in neuroscience are proving that when we’re actively engaged in Mindfulness, which in essence is practicing non-judgmental, present-moment awareness, we’re altering our brain. And with extensive use of Mindfulness, there’s an increase in the density of gray matter.
I’m not a scientist, and I can’t tell you which parts of my brain are active when I’m practicing present moment awareness, but I know without a doubt that there’s something going on, and it has, at times, felt pretty extraordinary.
If, in fact, Mindfulness does alter the brain, I can say that the area that affects our perception is definitely activated. I like to describe Mindfulness as feeling like Alice in Wonderland. We know that the story is about a girl who disappears down a rabbit hole to a place full of phantasmagorical adventures. I can’t say that I’ve talked to rabbits like Alice did, but when I’m practicing Mindfulness, my ability to intuit or communicate with animals has sharpened when I’m fully present with them. At times, I’ve sensed a type of telepathy with my cats that goes beyond your typical interaction, and that, to me, feels like a heightened state of consciousness.
Mindfulness seems like the perfect skill to practice in the 21st Century. After all, with the rapid advances we’re making in technology, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and genetic engineering at our doorstep, we’d better keep up with all that we’re creating. I’ve always believed that the brain was like a very powerful computer, and we must advance the use of it just as we’re advancing the use of AI and other technological developments.
We can laugh away things like telepathy, psychic abilities, or what’s been considered “strange mental powers.” Strange to who? What’s strange about using our minds in ways that help us go beyond the limitations of conventional ideas or how we’ve commonly perceived things? Is it so strange to believe that we have the ability to communicate without using words or physical signals?
Mindfulness, I believe, will help us see beyond what’s on the surface, and communicate in ways that go beyond what we’ve grown accustomed to, or relied on. We underestimate the power of our minds, and Mindfulness will help us remember how powerful it really is. It will help us expand our perception in ways we can’t even imagine, but that we must awaken to.
We can’t tap into the gifts of the mind unless we’re willing to be completely present with it. If we choose distraction, and use our devices to alienate ourselves from one another, we’ll keep distancing ourselves from an awareness of how over-digitalized we’ve become. We can continue to strain our brains creating more advanced technology, and risk the possibility of burn out; as we are seeing more and more people experience in the workplace, or we can learn how to use one of the most valuable qualities each of us possesses -- Mindfulness, which is tremendously helpful for self-regulation and keeping our emotions in check.
Practicing the non-judgmental, present-moment awareness of Mindfulness helps tremendously with self-regulation, and with finding a serenity that allows us to keep our emotions in check. It’s there for us, just waiting to be utilized. As we continue to make great strides in developing new technologies, it will keep us grounded so that we can navigate and manage what we create consciously. There’s no point in creating innovations that cause us to ruin our health or become exhausted from overworking. We may have ambitious visions, such as Elon Musk’s dream of colonizing Mars, but I fear things will go terribly wrong if our visions aren’t met with the type of present moment awareness that keeps us cognizant of any inherent dangers. or of an overzealousness to succeed at all costs.
Mindfulness will keep us consciously aware of all that we’re doing, but will hold us accountable for doing it. Incorporating it into our daily lives will help us become responsible for our visions by giving us a more mindful awareness of what they truly involve, and why we want to manifest them. Are our visions motivated by our own self-interests, or intended for the greater good? If there ever was a time for us to be more present, more awake and more conscious, it’s now.
Ora Nadrich is founder and president of the Institute for Transformational Thinking and author of "Says Who? How One Simple Question Can Change the Way You Think Forever". A certified life coach and mindfulness teacher, she specializes in transformational thinking, self-discovery, and mentoring new coaches as they develop their careers.