When we enter into a state of mindfulness, we have the capacity to enter into conscious relationship with another person.
There is a direct relationship between one’s state of consciousness, which includes their awareness of themselves, their bodies, and the world around them, and the depth of their communication.
Our everyday relationships generally consist of surface level conversations. Why has the majority of our interpersonal communication consist of small talk, or an absence of real and deep authentic connection. There are many reasons for why this has occurred – we have lost the capacity to trust, we have been wounded in past relationships, we have to protect our inner-vulnerabilities. It is easy to assign blame for our social conditioning.
Instead, it is helpful to enquire into the nature of the loneliness we feel, a lack of meaning, in human relationships. Without being too esoteric, our technology helps bring a part of us closer, but it appears to separate us even further from the truth of being. Our souls continue to experience an existential loneliness.
One reason for this is that we do not have an embodied form of communication, which permits a deeper sharing of one’s present state of being. In fact, we are so disconnected from our bodies, and from our inner-life, that we often in fact deny this part of ourselves in our interpersonal relationships.
When we turn our awareness up through mindfulness, we have access to a greater potential for deeper and embodied forms of relationship.
Through the practice of embodied mindfulness, the observer is first encouraged to observe their internal sensations of the external world. Through noticing what they can smell, taste, touch, feel, and hear, the observer is encouraged to enter into a state of witness awareness, or what John Kabat-Zinn calls non-judgmental awareness.
The observer is then encouraged to notice their internal sensations, which often are subtler and more difficult to detect initially. The transition to observing one’s internal state takes practice, and the practice takes patience.
Embodied Mindfulness Practice
We may begin to notice our breathing, just paying attention to each inhalation and exhalation. We may become aware of any tension that the body is holding. The key here is not to try to change anything, or even judge what is going on, but just to notice.
We can then begin to notice our thoughts. A helpful metaphor is to imagine that you are watching a movie. Notice your thoughts come, stay, and leave, just like you are watching a movie screen.
What we are building here is our capacity for embodied mindfulness – a state of consciousness where we can be aware of our present inner- experience, while at the same time keep contact and communicate with the external world.
One can extend this exercise even further with a partner, or you can imagine someone sitting across from you. Either way, continue being mindful and present with your own inner-experience, as you do that try to keep a simultaneous awareness of entering into relationship and connection with the other person.