Touchstones: A Pathway to Authentic Communication Part Three of Six

Part Three: Mindfulness to Quiet the Noisy Ego

Quieting the noisy ego within the context of authenticity can also be addressed by cultivating “mindfulness.”  Mindfulness involves a thoughtful awareness of who and where one is, “in the moment.”  Langer (2009) describes mindfulness as a flexible state of mind that sensitizes us to our context in the present and opens us up to novel ways of thinking. It is to be aware and attentive in the here and now; this is the essence of being “mindful.” According to Thich Nhat Hanh, mindfulness can be attained through moving away from dualistic thinking, such as suffering and happiness; peace and war and moving towards (a) a Reverence for Life; (b) True Happiness; (c) True Love; (d) Loving Speech and Deep Listening; and (e) Nourishment and Healing. (Shambala Sun pp.44-48)

Mindfulness encourages us to drop the elaborate fabrication that represents an embellished “story line” of our life. Too often we create an epic story akin to James Cameron’s rendition of the Titanic drama where we become the tragic hero or heroine, managing to begin and end a star crossed love affair in the time it took the ship to sink. It may make for great theater but not for the everyday mundane moments of most of our lives. Instead, these dramatic stories serve as modern mythology to guide us in what Joseph Campbell refers to as “The Hero’s Journey.” In this sense, the heroic deeds of these larger than life figures serve as teaching stories to entertainingly illustrate how to live an authentic life and learn,  as Campbell notes, “to follow your bliss.”