One of the biggest indicators of my clients’ success in stepping up their leadership is whether they have an existing mindfulness practice or are willing to start one.
Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neurotheologist and director of research at Philadelphia’s Myrna Byrd Center of Integrative Medicine recently studied the brains of spiritual leaders while they meditated or prayed. He concluded that:
“The more you do a practice like meditation or prayer, your brain physically gets thicker and it functionally works better.”
We All Have Two Minds
We all have two minds: a waking mind and a dreaming mind. Our waking mind is what thinks, reasons, talks. It loves all things logical, digital; it loves thinking. It is limited to the physical world and to what can be perceived through the physical senses. The waking mind is where we spend nearly all of our time.
The dreaming mind is far more powerful than the waking mind. It is the part of us that transcends the ordinary “reality” of the physical world. It sees deeply into the heart of things, it is the seat of our intuition and the part that dreams. It remembers a time when we had greater capacity than we have right now.
The dreaming mind is unlimited and powerful, but most of us don’t know how to connect to it, to leverage it, to unlock it. We stay rooted firmly in our waking minds… and miss out on incredible opportunities. And the cost is so high; despite greater access to and use of technology, the promise of which was to connect us to the people and information of the world, we are actually less connected than ever before, less fulfilled than ever before, and experience more loneliness and isolation than ever before.
Learning to tap into the dreaming mind is a lesson I will never forget and one that has helped me in ways I’m only beginning to understand. It inspired me to create Beyond The Brain, our annual retreat in mindfulness and ancient wisdom, so I can share this tools and practices and help others learn to harness energy and unlock the power of their dreaming minds.
Here is one of my favorite techniques for beginners to begin to awaken their dreaming mind. It’s called Light Shower and you only need 5 minutes for this practice.
Close your eyes. See yourself with your inner vision. You’re sitting exactly where you are, dressed as you are. You are watching yourself. Move your focus to the top of your head. See a shower of white light pouring down over your head, covering your body gradually. Keep watching it pour over you as it covers you entirely, covers your outfit, your fingers, your face, your shoes or toes. It covers your front and back sides.
You can no longer distinguish your features, you simply see an image of you made of white light. This is the light of the Divine, the Universe, whatever term or energy resonates with you. This light is always available to you, all you need to do is remember to tune in to the light shower.
When thoughts arise, let them pass, do not cling to them or reject them. Simply focus on the light shower covering you completely. Now see it soak into every cell of your body.
Remember, there isn’t a perfect way to meditate, it’s called a “meditation practice” for a reason. You are teaching your brain how to become calm and centered. This doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient with yourself. If you become frustrated, go back to controlled breathing and try Light Shower again. You choose the pace.
“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.”
– Marcus Aurelius
Awaken your dreaming mind; you’ll be amazed at the results in your business and personal life.
Christine Comaford is the best-selling author of Power Your Tribe: Create Resilient Teams in Turbulent Times and SmartTribes: How Teams Become Brilliant Together, and a leadership and culture coach. She hosts Beyond The Brain, a Retreat In Mindfulness and Ancient Wisdom every October. Learn more at SmartTribes Institute.