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Posted about 1 year ago
Awareness: How can this help nurses?
I have read several books on these concepts, a lot of great information. Jon Kabat-Zinn is often seen as the founder of the “mindfulness” terminology. Anthony DeMello and Michael A. Singer are two other great authors in terms of these concepts. These concepts could actually be a lifelong process of study and reading and experiencing.
Watching the present moment
This brings me to a concept I read in DeMello’s book, “Awareness.” He doesn’t ever really lay out one definition of awareness, but, rather, dedicates his entire book to the subject. From reading it and from my understanding of the concepts, I share with you some of the ideas about this term: awareness.
To me, awareness means observing, self-observation without judgment or interference. Just simply observing and noticing. It is not labeling or thinking or remembering or any of that. It is not bringing in what we have already experienced or know. It is simply watching the present moment. DeMello writes:
“Self-observation means to watch everything in you and around you as far as possible and watch it as if it were happening to someone else. It means that you do not personalize what is happening to you. It means that you look at things as if you have no connection with them whatsoever.”
So what we want to do is passively observe our thoughts. We are not to interfere. We are not to “fix.” We are just to watch and observe. Instead of trying to “fix” everything; understand things. Understand by observing. Understand them and they will change.
How can we try this? Well, a simple technique is to just observe you. Even as you read this, be aware of how you are feeling right now. What are you experiencing in your body? What is happening in your mind? Are you reading these words with concentration, focus and a clear mind? Or are you thinking of what else you have to do today, tonight or tomorrow? What is your emotional state? Be aware of your presence in this room. It is as if you are outside of yourself looking at yourself.
Practicing this technique of observation each day will enhance your awareness of self. Once we are more aware of ourselves we are more able to observe our thoughts and how they are making us feel. We can take control of our thoughts and emotions. We can empower ourselves to enhance our experience. And then, as nurses, we can bring these tools to our work day so that we are healthier, happier and more productive with our role.