Healing from Within: How to Live a More Mindful Life
Do you ever feel as though your day just passes, without any surplus time to reflect on your thoughts or emotions? We live in a society that seems to embrace and encourage mindlessness. As a result, many of us add more to our plates than we can consciously consume in a day (in work, to-dos, socially, and in family life).
“Mindfulness” is one of the most accessible spiritual buzzwords. I think of mindfulness as the polar opposite of mindlessness. In its most basic form, mindfulness means not giving your to-do list power over yourself. It starts with simple awareness, with recognizing your thoughts as they come (without judgment), and taking time to be in the present moment. To feel each moment in your day as though you’re experiencing it for the first time is to be mindful.
We sat down with Nomi Bachar, a holistic spiritual counselor and self-healing, self-actualization expert, to discuss what stops people from being happy, the keys to inner peace, and how we can all become more mindful.
In Nomi’s view, mindfulness is the result of harmoniously uniting the seven facets of the soul, making peace with your “monkey mind,” and treating the defensive self and emotional self with love.
Uniting the Seven Facets of the Soul: The Gates of Power® Method
WL: I’m so intrigued by your take on mindfulness – it’s really something a lot of people want to know about but aren’t really educated on these days. Tell us about your method for mindfulness and self-actualization.
Nomi: The name of the method is Gates of Power. I realized that there are seven gates, or seven facets, to our being. They all have to be unblocked, they all have to be energized, and they all have to be expressive, because these gates are like the windows of the soul. The gates are:
· The gate of the body.
· The gate of emotions.
· The gate of dialogue (relationships with ourselves and others).
· The gate of creative expression.
· The gate of life path (our lessons and our contribution).
· The gate of silence (mindfulness, prayer, and meditation).
· The gate of knowledge (really knowing the truth, understanding your truth, understanding your life).
In my research and experimentation, I have found that one can be whole only if we work to liberate all of the seven gates and balance them. The Gates of Power Method allows you to do that.
I also discovered that there are three colors within the soul:
· Red: This is our emotional self, where all the emotions live.
· Dark grey/brown: This is our defensive self, our survival, protective coat that we’ve created to survive.
· Gold: This is our expanded self, which is the part of us that is awareness, compassion, the divine spot within.
These – all three – have to work together as a team, and they have to be under the leadership of the expanded self. For most people, their leader is the defensive self.
We get very uptight, very contracted, reactive and defensive, because that’s how we learn to protect ourselves. But truly, we are imprisoning ourselves. It’s very choking, this defensive self, and it’s very unhealthy to have that self be the leader. I coach people how to use their expanded self to heal the emotional self and calm down the defensive self.
Making Peace with the Monkey Mind
WL: For people who are just entering into the curriculum, what do you teach them is the first step?
Nomi: We have something in us called the monkey mind. That is the obsessive-compulsive mind that is grounded in anxiety. Most of us have it in abundance. It’s that mind that’s going “I gotta do… What did I forget… Why did so and so say that last night? What did she mean by that? Oh God, I’ve got to phone that…” That one! It jumps from the past to the future, from the future to the past, it’s anxious, it’s reactive, and it’s obsessive. That’s the monkey mind. As long as you are pulled around by the tail of this monkey mind, there will be no peace…
So, the first step to mindfulness is to observe the monkey mind. Let it be, but begin to cultivate the witness in you, which is your expanded self. Your expanded self can witness life and have perspective on it. That part of you is very wise…
Recognize that you are not your body. You are not your monkey mind. You are not your personality. You’re just passing through this life. You’re not any of that. You’re not your drama, you’re not your trauma, and you’re not your emotions. You’re just pure consciousness – one with the oneness.
The monkey mind is a place you need to learn how to witness. You try not to judge and just to witness it like you would witness a child who is in a tantrum. Slowly, if you ground yourself in your breath, you can regain that mind. You’ve got to do it with a lot of love. You cannot say, “You crazy! Shut up! What’s wrong with you?!” That’s just conflict. It’s not going work. You’ve got to say, “Okay, I have this anxious, crazy little person inside of me, and I’ve got to calm them down.” That’s an expanded point of view.
Treating Your Emotional Self and Defensive Self with Love
Nomi: You’ve got to have a lot of compassion, because compassion works better. Love works better…
When you’re (very lovingly) guiding your monkey mind, you’re actually talking to your defensive self. You say, “Honey, relax, we’re meditating. Really right now we don’t need to do anything or say anything. We just have to breathe…” You might have to do that every time you start a meditation, and you might have to do that for 5-10 minutes. You have to teach that little person inside of yourself, that defensive side, that it’s safe to calm down.
You know, the big secret to mindfulness is love. Be loving toward the defensive self and the emotional self. We have a lot of sadness and emotion to feel. You have to encourage yourself to feel and to experience things. Feel them. Move through them. It’s going to be all right.
Remember, you can be your own healer, your teacher, your guide, your lover, your parent, and your best friend. It’s all there, within.
For more about Nomi Bachar’s method, pick up a copy of the Gates of Power book: “Gates of Power: Actualize your True Self.” Nomi works with clients individually, in intimate groups, in large groups, or privately over Skype. Visit GatesofPower.com for more information.