Many professionals think that they would be better off if their minds were more alert and they were less distracted.

The first fallacy that I’ve learned is that people think that there is an ideal mind and that their mind is not living up to the standard. The truth is that everybody’s mind works differently. To coach somebody to access the full potential of their mind, we need to let go of the idea that there is an ideal mind. Instead we should ask what is possible for this mind, what is the highest potential for this mind?

To do this we’ll:

  • look at four qualities of mind to recognize and how to develop them
  • explore practices that you can do to cultivate a clear mind

Four Qualities of Mind

Think about yourself, or someone you’d like to support and ask “What is possible for this mind? What is the highest potential for this mind?”. You can do this by being aware of four qualities of mind.

  • An aware mind
  • A powerful mind
  • A heartful mind
  • A visionary mind

An aware mind

The strength here is being able to see wide in scope. This is the mind’s ability to see what’s missing, see from different perspectives, see around corners. It can notice what is missing and go find out about it. For this kind of mind, what people think of as distracted is actually beneficial. You deliberately look from a different perspectives. You look at what you look like from different eyes, you look at what the world looks like from different sides. You’re willing to look at your own shadows, your own quirks.

A powerful mind

The strength here is focus. The powerful mind can see what needs to be done. Prioritize it. Make it so plain that that is what we’re talking about, and everyone gets what is in focus. We see what the goals are, what resistance is present, and how to get where we want to go.

A heartful mind

The strength here is being attuned to deep feeling. The heartful mind notices what you are feeling at a deep level. Picks up what others are feeling at a deep level. Is capable of picking up pain, sadness, and loss. Capable of picking up on the impact you’re having on others. It is comfortable having needs and receiving support.

A visionary mind

The strength here is seeing into the future. The visionary mind sees patterns about how the future unfolds. See the future as a compelling, positive opportunity. It invites others to follow and help. The visionary mind sees people’s gifts and draws forth their contribution. Celebrates and appreciates what good looks like.

Growing these qualities

To grow somebody’s mind, you want to figure out which qualities of mind this person has and how to further develop in that area.

Which ones do you lead from? How can you get even better at this quality of mind, and overcome any of its liabilities?

There are young and mature versions of each, and we want to grow up the quality.

For example, the less developed visionary mind is dream like, with a lot of focus on “me”. It grows into making other people feel confident, and expanding its focus to include others.


Practices

Emptying practice

Begin this practice with a release. I normally suggest release before quiet. By release I mean do something vigorous to release the emotions and agitation that might be distracting the mind. It’s easier to get quiet if first of all you’ve released excess tension.

In your own space, just shake it out. Stand up and walk around for 2 minutes and shake it off. Take some deep breaths, big sighs, jump up and down a bit, swing your arms.

Then sit quietly for 5 minutes.

Afterwards, notice the quality of your mind.

Distractions practice

Next time you are aware that you feel distracted, find the root of the distraction. Notice what is taking your mind away from stillness and write about it.

A helpful question to consider here is “What am I protecting?”.

Journaling

I encourage people not to do stream of consciousness. Start with a question and use a train of thought rather than spew consciousness.

For example, …


Enjoy your mind as it is

It is most important to enjoy your mind as it is. Even in meditation. We’re not trying to get to a state. We’re trying to be with what arises however it is. The only distraction is judging the mind. Everything else can be used.

You can learn more about these directions and other practices that are helpful for them here.