I’d like to share a concept with you that I’ve been rolling around in my head for awhile. It’s become a practice for me. Let me know how this lands for you and whether it resonates.
This idea is about “mindfulness”, but not just any kind of mindfulness, it’s about tuning in to 5 dimensions of your being, and connecting with what you need in the moment.
The 5 dimensions are:
- Physical Body
- Energetic Field
These are all quite self-explanatory except perhaps for the concept of the energetic field, so let me say just a few things about this aspect.
The energetic field involves tuning your awareness into your own energy as well as the energy of others around you. Energetic field is the energy you bring into a room. Think of Linus in the Charlie Brown comics – he always had a dusty cloud around him that preceded him and left a dirty trail behind him. Our energetic signature is much like that. When we interact with people they are left feeling a particular way not just because of the things we say and do, but also because of the type of energy we bring to the interaction.
Here’s a really important piece – we are all responsible for the type of energy we carry and share with others. We are responsible for our own energy and the energy we bring into a room or an interaction!
We’ve all dealt with angry people who we know are angry before they even speak or interact with us. Their angry energy can be felt and everyone in the room is exposed to it. That person is responsible for that angry energy.
A responsible, conscious person will take active responsibility for the energy they bring. Why? Because the energy you bring to the room can have the same kind of direct impact on the people around you as if you spoke harsh words or behaved rudely. Your energy impacts the people around you, so you have a responsibility to (1) know what energy you’re putting out in the world, (2) shift your energy from negative to positive if you can, or (3) contain your negative energy.
On the flip side of this energy equation is the energy we are exposed to as recipients. It can really assist us to be aware of the type of energy we are receiving from the people around us. Exposure to either negative or positive energy from others can impact us. Positive energy can uplift us, while negative energy can bring us down, irritate or anger us. Paying attention to the energy that someone else is bringing to our interaction allows us to consider how we choose to manage that for ourselves. For example, we may choose to shield ourselves from the other person’s negative energy so that we don’t end up taking that energy on for ourselves.
So why does any of this matter? Well, at any given time throughout our very busy days any one or more of these aspects of our being can be “off”. If we simply become “mindful” of how we’re “feeling” we may not get a clear understanding of what the issue is or what we need in order to come to a place of greater balance and wellness.
When we train ourselves to check in with these 5 different aspects of Self, we can be much more precise about what we need. Think of it like a bit of a check list. Pick a place on your body or immediately around your body to represent each of these aspects. For example, you might use your brain as the representation of your thoughts (makes sense right?), and your heart to represent your emotions, your chest area or very top of your head to represent your connection to spirit/soul/universe (or whatever resonates here as something greater than you alone), and perhaps the area around your feet to represent the energy field around you.
I’d invite you to sit still and quiet for a moment (preferably with eyes closed) and check in with each of these aspects. Really tune in and feel for what sensations, visualizations or messages you receive from each area. Don’t try to make sense of anything at this moment, just receive whatever comes up. After going through all 5 aspects, open your eyes and run the messages through your thinking mind by asking “What do I need in this moment to return to the highest version of myself , to return to balance and wellbeing?”.
Sometimes it’s as simple as “my body is hungry and my blood sugar is dropping so I need to eat something right now”.
Sometimes it’s more subtle like “my thoughts have been really self-critical all morning because I’m not satisfied with how I did XYZ, and I need to speak more kindly to myself ”.
Sometimes it’s complicated like “I’m feeling emotionally anxious because my daughter just moved away to College and I just read a newspaper article about a sexual assault that happened on campus” and “my energy field is anxious, jumpy, and impatient so I need to do something that grounds me like going for a walk in nature or meditating”.
Providing an example of the “soul or spirit” connection is difficult because it is very personal and will depend on what your personal beliefs are. Yet, I expect that we all have a sense of our own beliefs about life and how we fit into the greater picture, regardless of what names or words we use to describe that. Depending on what your beliefs are, check in with your inner essence as well as your connection to something larger than yourself. For example, I know my inner essence is caring and optimistic, but when I get too caught up in the negative things that happen in the world, I can lose sight of my belief that “everything happens for a reason” and can get pulled into depression about how the world is “going to hell in a handbasket” (as my Dad used to say). When I reconnect with my inner essence and my connection to my spiritual beliefs, I am reminded of the good in the world and I see things in a much more optimistic and hopeful way.
After checking in with each aspect of yourself, it’s important to ask “what do I need to be restored to wellbeing and balance?”. You have the answers within you, provided you take the time to listen.
I end this practice with a moment of gratitude for all 5 aspects of Self. Gratitude to my body for its strength and for carrying my brain around all day (haha – that’s another article), gratitude to my emotions because without them I couldn’t know joy or all the beauty of being human, gratitude for my mind and thoughts, gratitude for my connection to the universe and my belief system, and gratitude for the vital unseen energy of life that I get to play in every day.
This is a practice in every sense of the word. The good news is that the more you do it, the easier it gets and the more natural it feels. The gift of doing this practice is that you become more aware of what’s truly going on inside and around you and you become more capable of meeting your needs before they become problems. In addition, when you become more aware, you take on more responsibility for the energy you bring into your interactions and you don’t spread negative energy with others (well, let’s say you spread less of it).
Here’s the thing – ignoring the messages from the “off” parts of us doesn’t make your need go away. It just means it continues unaddressed for longer and longer. That also means things get more and more complicated to sort out.
In my experience, we can either choose to listen to the messages from these 5 aspects of Self or we can disregard them and be *forced* to listen some time later. “Later” is usually not a “good” experience.
So, I encourage you to not just get mindful but get mindful about YOU and what you need as well as what you bring into a room.
Here’s to your wellbeing, balance, and living in full awareness and vitality every day.