Countless companies and organizations have wisely made mindfulness workshops and programs a staple for helping their people reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus, and boost overall health and wellness.
Mindfulness helps many people. It’s a step in the right direction. But it's not for everyone, not by a longshot.
Mindfulness receives near-universal praise in the media, but it has its limitations.
Why do millions of people seek a simple alternative to mindfulness, or a practice that complements it with different benefits?
Happiness in the United States was nearly at a 50-year low before COVID, in 2018. If mindfulness, meditation, yoga or talk therapy were going to reverse that trend, it would have happened by now.
I mean no disrespect. They are wonderful practices with many benefits. But most forms of them just aren't built for giving us lasting happiness quickly.
Fortunately, an approach with the same ancient yogic origins as mindfulness is resurfacing thanks to its simplicity, portability, minimal time commitment and amazingly fast results.
Reverse Mindfulness for Lasting Happiness and Stress-Free Success (“Reverse Mindfulness”) is a simple, ultra-practical adaptation of this ancient yogic teaching, optimized and condensed for busy Western professionals. How does it help your people and your business?
Mindfulness and Reverse Mindfulness:
Two sides of the same coin
Mindfulness and Reverse Mindfulness share ancient Indian roots.
They both draw their effectiveness from the power of attention.
They recognize awareness, not our minds, as our essential self and the source of lasting peace and happiness.
They just send our attention in the “opposite directions” -- whatever we’re aware of vs. what is aware of it, which is awareness itself.
In daily life, most of us spend 100% of our time focusing on specific things that we’re aware of: Sights, sounds, thoughts, emotions, etc.
Mindfulness does that with greater intensity and alertness. Most forms of meditation and yoga also focus on what we’re aware of.
The simple alternative is reversing your attention.
Being mindful of what’s being mindful. Paying attention to what’s paying attention. Being aware of being aware.
If that sounds difficult, rest assured, it’s practically effortless.
There are several ways to practice Reverse Mindfulness. Basic knowledge and insights greatly enhance its power. But reversing attention is its core.
In the West, awareness is typically overlooked and dismissed as a function.
In many Eastern traditions, including mindfulness, meditation and yoga, it's a totally different story:
For thousands of years, awareness has been rightly recognized as our true nature and very essence: peaceful, happy, inherently fulfilled and devoid of stress and anxiety.
I don’t mean “self-awareness” to help us act appropriately in certain situations. Nor some exotic
awareness accessible only to gurus, mystics and yogis. That doesn’t exist.
I mean the “ordinary” awareness with which we wash the dishes, walk the dog, or recognize what we think and feel.
What seems ordinary is just the surface, or access point, to who we really are, how we want to feel every day, and our deepest source of intelligence and ideas.
It’s a matter of how deeply we experience it. The access point couldn’t be easier to find.
* The standard webinar consists of two 60-minute sessions a week apart, which allows participants to practice, get feedback and ask questions. I also offer a condensed, single 60-minute session, and a four-session extended program, with content adjusted based on duration.
As a former Goldman Sachs VP, Congressional speechwriter, wellness executive, advisor to C-Suite executives and a Harvard graduate, I’ve worked with and known some unbelievably talented people working under enormous pressure to deliver impossible results within ridiculous time frames.
Usually, that was no problem -- the easy part.
They and their teams (sometimes including me) reckoned with personal questions that weren't quite as clear-cut:
Was it more satisfying than stressful? Was it just a means to early retirement and chalet in the French Alps, or a fulfilling end in itself? Did it make them happy, or just keep them busy?
The answers seemed to range from “worth doing” to “very satisfying” -- for as long as that lasted.
But no achievement, activity, relationship or other external pursuit brought them the lasting peace and happiness that all of us want.
I only know that because it has never happened. Not once, to anyone. Ever.
I had to discover that for myself, with an extra challenge.
From ages 12-23, I led a very challenging, illness-ridden life linked to an undiagnosed genetic condition.
I figured if I could just graduate college, I would feel better. I did -- for about 48 hours. A year later, in 1988, my resistance collapsed and I fell into an extreme depression.
Fortunately, it prompted me to find the right treatment. I finally felt “normal.” But normal seemed to mean riding an emotional rollercoaster driven by events and circumstances with almost everyone else. I felt I had lost a lot of time, and normal wasn't good enough.
Alongside a demanding career in communications and eventual family life, I explored how lasting happiness is pursued worldwide through approaches such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, positive psychology, ancient spiritual teachings and more. It was a fun but unremarkable hobby for 20 years.
I was driving home as usual when the world seemed to blossom into vivid colors. Even lampposts and road signs seemed vibrant and alive. Something had shifted; I wasn't sure what.
Within 48 hours, I realized that a lifelong, disruptive stress condition in my heart had vanished, never to return.
Even more bizarre, when I focused on an object, I felt a pressing sensation between my eyebrows and an unearthly sense of peace and “oneness” with the space around it.
The “eyebrow center” is the location of the “third spiritual eye” in some Eastern traditions. Courtesy of Google, I learned that it's associated with deeper states of consciousness, wisdom, intuition and more.
Fast forward to 2019. I had been teaching a popular wellness and spirituality workshop for a few years.
I couldn’t imagine feeling any better. (I was soon pleasantly surprised.) But for my clients, I still didn’t have a magic bullet for lasting happiness.
This was the magic bullet. But I knew it wouldn't be obvious to everyone. Most people who “got it” had also tried almost everything else.
I call the general approach “reversing attention.” To simplify it for a mainstream Western audience, I spent over a year studying different approaches to reversing attention.
With much outside input, l created a condensed program that is more experiential, visual and clear -- more from the heart than than head -- than the original.
Today, Reverse Mindfulness for Lasting Happiness and Stress-Free Success stands alone as the best specific approach to reversing attention tailored to a Western professional audience.
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