Monday, June 04, 2007

Awareness exercise

Here's an excerpt from the book Listening with Empathy by John Selby. (You can find a longer excerpt here.)

Awareness itself is a remarkable quality of the mind - it's our very core of being. When we aren't aware, we simply aren't here. When our awareness is low, we're hardly here. But, our awareness has the amazing quality of being able to expand . . . and expand more . . . and expand still more.

You know that feeling of being vibrantly alive and alert, when you seem to be aware of your whole body at once and tuned into the whole world around you. In this expanded state of awareness, you're in peak condition to participate in the world. You're in the zone, you're spontaneous and friendly and powerful. The more aware you are, the more able you are to share empathy with those around you - and in this expanded state of awareness, naturally your customers will enjoy you and want to return to be with you again.

Notice how your awareness naturally and quite effortlessly expands when you become aware of your breathing. The first focus phrase expands your awareness to include your nose and your head. The second focus phrase that I'm going to teach will expand your awareness to include also the breathing movements in your chest, hands, and down lower in your belly. Suddenly you experience a sense of three-dimensional volume inside your body - and with this experience you pop into the present moment and tune also into the world around you.

Say to yourself, "I feel the air flowing in and out of my nose," and experience that expansion of your awareness for a breath or two. Then say to yourself, "I also feel the movements in my chest and belly as I breathe," and sure enough, your awareness will expand effortlessly so that you're aware of your head, chest, and belly all at once.

This is "consciousness expansion" in a nutshell, and it's your most valuable boost for shifting instantly into the perfect mode for relating with customers. What you're doing at deep levels with this simple two-sentence refocusing process is breaking free from the grip of habitual worries and manipulative thoughts and tuning into where the action's really happening. When you shift from thought to experience, from inner ruminations to perceptual sensory awareness, you make the greatest leap of consciousness possible. You bring yourself back into engagement with the world around you.
Staying in the "now" is so important for so many reasons. Obviously, truly tuning in to the person you're listening to is one of those reasons.

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