Growth and Freedom through Mindfulness

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ― Viktor E. Frankl

The instantaneous response we have to stimulus is emotional, habitual. If we can pause for three to five seconds, our reason and intellect come through.

Tara Brach refers to this pause or space as the Sacred Pause. In her book Radical Acceptance she writes, “Through the sacred art of pausing, we develop the capacity to stop hiding, to stop running away from our experience. We begin to trust in our natural intelligence, in our naturally wise heart, in our capacity to open to whatever arises. Like awakening from a dream, in the moment of pausing our trance recedes and Radical Acceptance becomes possible.”

I feel this pause in that second when I realize my inner attention is caught up in my thinking mind, especially in my habit to rush, hurry and speed through each and every activity. It is a sort of awakening and it certainly feels sacred – like a gift of sorts or even just another chance. A chance to consciously come out of the trance of my conceptual mind and back into the open, alive, mysterious experience of the present moment.

It’s been years of this – getting lost and caught up in my conceptual mind, my inner attention waking up, consciously pausing, feeling my breath and body and stepping again into the experience of my life unfolding. This – for years – all day, every day.

But slowly over the days and years of pausing and returning, I’ve begun to know in my bones that this space is where my growth and freedom reside. Mindfulness isn’t a quick fix or really any kind of fix at all – it’s simply a way to consciously return to this space and to experience.

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