In late 1999, I came across the work of a pioneer in the field of personal development by the name of K. Bradford Brown, Ph.D. Dr. Brown was infamous for highlighting passages in the books he read and marking by the margin of the book the acronym YBH, which stood for "Yes, but how?" Brad, as I knew him, was always intrigued by how many spiritual, motivational, and self-help gurus would offer advice but often failed to outline a clear path to helpful methods of exploration. Sometime later in Brad's life he met another pioneer by the name of W. Roy Whitten, Ph. D. Together they created self-transformation techniques involving how we observe our human experiences.
In recent days, I participated in a LinkedIn discussion where Peter Wilding, one of the contributors, stated his summation to the topic like this: "We need to gain precision about what we personally experience. Check this against what others experience under similar conditions." I paused and considered it, as there was something there that was fascinating that spoke to the heart of our human condition. I asked Peter what would be the value of comparing experiences?
To me this is worth exploring because we are drawn to a constant stream of measurement. So the question I pose is: Are we truly gaining anything by comparing? Or are we simply attempting to become the "observer" of a 360-degree rotating axis during instances when we are unable to view our own experience? If so, would it be of greater value to learn techniques that would enable us to become that inner observer? My response to that would be like Dr. Brown's: Yes, but how?
Dr. Brown postulated that we are able to circumvent our reactive mind by way of observing how we respond to life in every experience. During the last 12 years, I have gained greater insight into how we position ourselves as the "observer" in order to embody the ever-flowing "now." There is immeasurable value in learning to sit in the backseat on this ride found within our reactive mind. Surprisingly, one common denominator among all of us is how we register an experience within our mental frame. Knowing how to access this information becomes vital to how we are able to see with greater clarity into the world of possibilities.
It is also clear that more people in our modern age are being drawn to "mindful awareness," as noted by W. Roy Whitten in his doctoral dissertation, Awake and Aware: Utilizing Split-Attention to Link Mindful Awareness with Everyday Activities:
"In November, 2002, an Internet search for publications and retreat centers concerned with mindful awareness training resulted in the Google search engine reporting 11,400 hits, of which it selected 1,200 for inspection (it eliminated the others due to repetition of URL addresses). These sites revealed over 140 retreat centers, mostly in the United States, all but four of which were Buddhist in orientation. In March, 2003, Google reported 50,200 hits on a similar search, of which an estimated 90 percent included references to Buddhism, vipassana, dharma, or Zen. This result paralleled the literature available for review and revealed a significant predominance of Buddhist orientation in the pedagogy of mindfulness."
What would you do if you knew how to interpret the readout of your lifelong conditioning? What would you change and, most importantly, how would you go forward into the world and embrace the unknown?
This is sure to be an exciting discussion, and with your assistance it will soon be a memorable one. In the words of Confucius, "By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." Which would you choose?
Seeking information is vital, but finding the right information is just as critical to the process. If you are one of those people who are driven by a "Yes, but how?" approach, I invite you to join me in this newly-posted discussion titled "How Do You Personally Register an Experience?" In this thread we will explore how you are stepping into the role of the "observer" and if you are consciously aware of your reaction as well as the belief that was conducive to it. You may be amazed by how easy it is to allow the autopilot function inside your reactive mind to take over your life without even suspecting the damming effects of this intruder. Can you see the value in learning an easy proven method of recognizing the culprit to any defeating patterns?
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