Last week we practiced reperceiving and we noticed how the experience of reperceiving allows us to relate to our thoughts and our feelings in a way that frees us from the subjective experience of those thoughts and feelings. We learned how this relational shift creates a space for us to “switch off the autopilot” and engage with our experiences with more clarity and more agency.
- Deepening our experience of reperceiving and attending to that experience more fully as we go about our daily activities
- Perspective and how it colours and shapes our experiences
Firstly, I would like us to explore the effects of reperceiving more deeply. Studies indicate that reperceiving is a developmental process which is continued and accelerated by mindfulness (Shapiro, Carlson, et al 2006). This process affords us the opportunity to relate to our experiences with greater clarity, objectivity, equanimity and perspective.
So what exactly does that mean for us? How does it translate into changes in our life and how does it affect how we function?
Neuroscience has taught us that when we practice shifting our awareness, we strengthen neural pathways in our pre-frontal cortex and the parts of the brain that are associated with higher functioning and emotion regulation so on a physiological level, reperceiving, as a function of mindfulness, increases our potential emotional regulation and intelligence. So just like squats and arm-curls in the gym strengthen our biceps and quadriceps, mindfulness meditation strengthens our ability to regulate emotions.
But reperceiving is also about learning to relate to experiences in a healthier way, and for centuries theorists have proposed that how we relate to the world affects how we experience the world. It stands to reason therefore, that by learning to relate to our experiences with more clarity, objectivity, kindness and curiosity we can expect to experience the world in a friendlier way.
During the course of this week, try to bring conscious awareness to how you relate to not only your thoughts and feelings, but also…
- The people around you
- Your work
- Your body
Remember to practice with the qualities of intention, attention and attitude. The intention of the exercise is to notice how mindfulness affects how we relate to our experiences and how that potentially determines the quality of the experience. We do this with curiosity, non-judgement and kindness.
Resources for this week:
- Youtube clip about The Five Steps to Mindful Communication by Susan Gillis Chapman (4 min 43 sec): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bNBWcnacok
- Mindfulness over Matter-a TED talk by Ellen Langer (22 min 21 sec): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XQUJR4uIGM
- Research article : http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/images/uploads/Keng-Mindfulness_Review_and_Conceptions.pdf