Human beings operate in three dimensions all the time. The physical/emotional, the geographical/emotional and the spiritual. Usually our awareness will be more focused on one of these dimensions while the others may be faded out.
We can raise our awareness of our physical being by doing a ‘body scan’. This is a slow movement of our awareness through the whole body starting at the feet and ending at the crown of the head. In this scan we may notice areas of tension, even pain. Usually this awareness causes a muscular tensing as we try to suppress or avoid it. In mindfulness these physical feelings are accepted rather than judged. Noticed, but without response. I call this the emotional/physical because there is such a strong link between the two. In child development an infant builds their emotional intelligence on the basis of physical sensation in the body. Tension and stress is emotion driven but experienced in the body’s muscles.
We are very influenced by what is going on around us. Environment is key in how we feel. So this second dimension of mindfulness is based on raising awareness of the people around us, the sounds in the room, the sounds outside the room, the atmosphere around us. All these can be observed with eyes open. Once again mindfulness is cultivated by not responding to, or judging the immediate surroundings. This dimension is often left out of mindfulness and yet our surrounding environment has at least as big an influence on us as the inner feeling state.
In traditional mindfulness this may or may not be emphasised but I would term this as ‘looking up’. It is the last part of a mindfulness process because it is the least tangible. In this aspect of mindfulness the person is encouraged to meditate on the God question. This is regardless of how they see God. It could also be described as the ‘helicopter perspective.’ In this dimension a person can notice what is happening around and within them from a God perspective. Is there something God is saying through it. In some spiritual traditions no clear answers are expected. However these questions have the effect of drawing the person up and out of their circumstances.
As well as being helpful for stress reduction and gaining perspective in an individual, this is also useful in a business context. The physical addresses inner wellbeing, the geographical, relationships in the team, and the spiritual, the values and narratives about the company.
This has been an introduction to 3D Mindfulness