Mindfulness of The Self

I think I've talked before about how much mindfulness as a concept & process has informed my work lately. Depending on how you look at things (read: how you choose to define things), all of the processes we are trying to promote in ACT work are mindfulness or concepts of mindfulness.

Self-as-Context in ACT, for example, can be mapped onto the 4 pillars of mindfulness in Buddhism without much fuss at all. But this isn't a Buddhism blog or website, so what follows are 4 things that we are trying to promote awareness of for our clients in and out of sessions. The terms that I'm using here are imperfect, by which I mean that they do not encapsulate the entire concept, this is because no term could ever fully encapsulate the entire concept, but no matter, they may be workable.

  1. Mindfulness of the Outside

    • This is to say, awareness of our sensory perception. The things that we take in via our eyes, ears, nose, mouth, sense of touch. This includes awareness of our body, our breath, our current state of being.
  2. Mindfulness of the Inside

    • This is to say, awareness of our internal perception. Things like our thoughts, feelings, memories, images, sensations which occur for the lack of a better term "inside" our minds or our bodies.
  3. Mindfulness of the Process

    • This is to say awareness of the ongoing nature of all things. Noticing that all states are impermanent, constantly changing. All those internal and external things from above are as fluid as a river.
  4. Mindfulness of the Self-as-Context

    • This is to say awareness that what we label as The Self is a product of numbers 1-3 above. The "outside" and "inside" constitute the content of our experience, the process is the unending flow of our experience, all of which become the context of our experience.

As you can see all I've done here is separate Self-as-Content in ACT into two components, and left Self-as-Process, and Self-as-Context the same.

As you have been doing work with clients recently, how much attention have you been giving to the above concepts? Do you notice that you have been leaning more towards one concept more than others? Which concept have you been focusing on the least? Would you be willing to intentionally try to target each of these in some way this week?

Jacob MartinezComment