Just as the salivary glands secrete saliva, the mind churns out thoughts—thousands of thoughts; all day long.
With enhanced mental awareness, you can notice countless passing thoughts as well as your habitual thinking patterns (that is, habits of mind).
Having thoughts is neither good nor bad. Thought production is simply what your mind does. Estimates vary, but researchers say that we have at least 12,000 and more likely between 50,000 and 80,000 thoughts a day. Roughly, one thought every second.
Your mind speaks in images as well as in words. “Images are thoughts that you can see, hear, smell, feel, or taste in your mind. It’s a very natural way of thinking,” says Martin Rossman, M.D., a leader in mind-body medicine.
As you become better at observing your thoughts, those that mimic ceaseless chatter begin to quiet down and become less frequent. Once the chatter subsides, you are more likely to become aware of habitual thought patterns. As you become aware of these patterns, they begin to ease, and gradually you begin to notice the space between your thoughts. As you enhance your mental awareness you will notice a different type of thought—your inner voice—a third aspect of mental awareness. This type of thought has a variety of tones and messages—sometimes soft, deep, and truthful and at other times more strident, edgy, and urgent.
Your inner voice speaks directly, and at times indirectly, to you with concern for your well-being. It alerts you to what’s really important to you, what really matters, and the kind of life you want to live—one that is connected to your most cherished values and deepest purpose.
Your inner voice will remind you of your deep-seated beliefs. When you can access your deep beliefs, they enter your conscious awareness, and you can examine them to see if they are still true, valued, or needed for your current situation. Your inner voice helps you to become aware of out-worn patterns, recognize what is in your best interest, and allow something that is new to emerge.
There is another, more profound, part of your inner voice. It belongs to your deepest person, your deepest self. Your deepest person is the self that is often a stranger to you and would benefit most from befriending and listening to. The voice of your deepest person is not conditioned—there are no prior associations from earlier times in your life. Furthermore, your deepest self always has your best interest at heart.
Mental awareness differs distinctly from thinking. When you are mentally aware, you simply notice your thoughts, the content of your thoughts, your thought patterns, and eventually even the process of thinking itself. You possess mental awareness when you can observe your thoughts or mental images without becoming engaged in them.
Awareness and thinking cannot occur at the same time. To achieve mental awareness, you must distance or separate yourself from the thinking process. You become an observer of your thoughts and an observer of your mental imagery.
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BODY With enhanced body awareness, you can discern physical sensations, the sense of groundedness, as well as the delightful sensation of “flow.”
The heart is a symbol for connection. Because the heart receives messages from itself as well as from other parts of the body and responds accordingly, it serves as an apt metaphor for connection, to ourselves and with others.
Think of "spirit" in terms of the life force that flows through you via the energy systems of the body. And think of spirit as the vibrations that your body receives via nature, music, people, and even the more distant vibrations from further distances on earth and beyond. The ways to work with spirit is with energy healing modalities and self care practices.