In today’s challenging times, we’re in great need of cultural change. When cruelty or condescension rule the day, it’s time to re-evaluate what we, as humans, are about. The civil discourse that enables us to find common ground has been lost. Now, as the mudslinging and finger-pointing rhetoric become heightened in the election season, civil society is realizing that we need a new approach to help us bridge the deep fissure between perceptions of “us and them.”

But any change in attitude and behavior requires each of us, as individuals, to explore our motivations and behaviors more thoroughly. To embrace our need for change, we must look inward and connect to our most authentic self. This type of awareness is called Mindfulness, which is being in the present moment with total awareness. When we know ourselves and determine who we are authentically, we can stay on the path of awareness, rather than continue our objectionable behaviors through ignorance.

Just like when our car’s windshield becomes dirty and the view obscured, and we must use our windshield wipers to clean it, we also have to do a thorough sweep of ourselves to find out what’s dirtying or obstructing our reality. A Daily Mindfulness practice of connecting to our most authentic self helps us to recognize and face who we are and how we want to show up in the world. It keeps us present and aware.

If or when we might feel an impulse to be inauthentic, Mindfulness reminds us immediately that falseness of any kind feels wrong with every fiber of our being. When we’re mindful, we have heightened awareness, and with heightened awareness, it’s hard to be dishonest with ourselves or make snap judgments about others. It’s like having an inner lie detector, or truth barometer that goes off inside us and makes it almost impossible not to pay attention.

This awakening puts us in touch with a feeling of inner peace and soulful enlightenment. It is much richer and more deeply textured than what we can observe by operating on the surface of our thoughts.

Focus on these changes as you allow Mindfulness to provide a pathway to awareness and compassion:

1. Change negative self-talk to positive. Much of our inner talk begins with, “I’m not,” “I can’t,” or “I’ll never.” The authentic self knows its strengths and weaknesses precisely, but it doesn’t define itself as inadequate, unqualified, or anything that boxes itself in by limited beliefs.

2. Be in the moment, whatever it brings. Even though Mindfulness can be the messenger of bad news, we must not “kill the messenger.” A moment is simply doing its job, and when it brings us pleasure and joy, we’re pleased with what it gives us. We can even say with satisfaction, “I got completely lost in the moment.” But even a difficult or painful moment can leave us with a strength we never knew we had — or an awareness of how to move through our pain in a more accepting, conscious way. No matter what difficulty or pain we may experience, by asking our spiritual being to pull us up, it will help us move through any challenges or hardships we face.

3. Explore the beauty within. Yes, there’s beauty around us, in nature, sunsets, and more. But you can turn to the beauty within as well. Sit quietly, breathe, and go within to the most magical place of all: ourselves. If we keep going out of the moment, thinking that another one will be better, we’re missing the magic. Find the inner stillness. Find acceptance. Find gratitude. And most of all, connect to the internal beauty located within each person.

4. Take a present moment break. So often we live our lives on autopilot. Finding time to stop the “busy-ness” and connect more to our spiritual cores will bring us back to our inner wholeness, which, in essence, is the authentic self. By taking the time to connect to and acknowledge our true nature, we’re saying to ourselves, “I recognize that which is worthy, divine, and holy in myself.”

5. Recognize the world’s oneness. Saying or doing things impulsively instead of thoughtfully can add hurt to the world instead of promoting healing. Through Mindfulness, we recognize our connections to the world’s oneness. As we aspire to become more aware and compassionate, we’ll become more in touch with our benevolent natures. We’ll understand awareness that what we do through our thoughts and actions has an effect on everyone on the planet.

What would we be doing here, if not to discover who we are, and what this life means? Mindfulness gives us the power to change negativity into positivity in ourselves and toward those around us.

**Originally published at Conscious Life News