As we journey through life we sometimes wish that we had the benefit of hindsight. With hindsight, we would not have made the same mistakes and we would avoid doing or saying things that we now regret.
The good news is that it is never too late to develop Mindsight. Mindsight is a word coined by Dr Daniel Siegel, a Scientist, Educator, Psychiatrist, Paediatrician and Psychotherapist. Mindsight is described by Dr Siegel as “a kind of focused attention that allows us to see the internal workings of our own minds. It helps us to be aware of our mental processes without being swept away by them, enables us to get ourselves off the autopilot of ingrained behaviour and habitual responses and moves us beyond the reactive emotional loops we all have a tendency to get trapped in.”
In our lives it is vital that we can tap into the power of our minds rather than just being taken over by our thoughts and emotions at any time of the night and day. Dr Siegel calls Mindsight our seventh sense. I think Mindsight is a good word for the market place because Meditation or Mindfulness as a tool for the marketplace is not a very good selling pitch as many think it can be achieved through machines or by chanting a mantra or humming Om. They are told by marketers that by buying a product or doing these things they will surely find the key to the riches of the universe.
After a while, D Siegal saw that the energy which naturally goes out to connect with others, when not acted upon, finally and ultimately reverts back to ourselves and to our inner reality. This was a revelation to him it seems and changed the nature of all his future research into the brain, the mind, his psychiatric approach, people’s problems, their challenges, the way people tackled life issues and more importantly their overall success as a person in the realms of work, love, relationships, personal and business success.
What I have seen in my own life and in working with people generally is that we do need a certain objectivity, openness and observation, which Siegel calls the tripod of reflection. The words I would use include dis-identification, vulnerability and self-observation.
Sometimes we need the power of reflection when “we have taken the low road,” as Siegel describes his own experience when he “lost it” with his children one day. We also need the power of Mindsight as it helps our ability to know our own minds as well as the minds and hearts of others.
We see that Mindsight, Watchfulness, Self-Observation, Self-Remembrance or Self-Awareness are the keys that lay the foundation for the other three Life Skills of Self Mastery, Empathy and Social Skills which are the essentials to a life lived well.
Research carried out revealed that Mindsight supports not only personal and interpersonal well-being, but more importantly, greater effectiveness at work. As we become more attuned to watching our inner world or sea of thoughts and emotions, we become more skilled in Mindsight practice and we move towards a state of integration and harmony. More importantly, we can begin to repair the damage we have caused in our relationships when we “lost it.”
All we need is a willingness, an openness and the knowledge that if others have done it we can too. When we can learn to develop this quality of Mindsight, we can honour the differences in each other whilst not shutting down or closing off; we can express our different attitudes whilst remaining open to learning and we can learn about ourselves by watching our reactions when we have been caught off guard and take the low road.
Much more will come out of this new frontier of neuroscience and plasticity and the powerful effect of mindfulness/Mindsight, not only in regards to the mind but it also directly impacts the power to shape our brain’s firing patterns and as it affects quite amazingly the structure and architecture of the brain.
With the advent of many books on neuroscience, where the positive and astounding effects of meditation on the human psyche and human life are chronicled, I can see that now there is some possibility that it will become of more interest to those sensitive souls who not only want a successful life in the traditional sense of the word “success,” but also want a happy, contented and fulfilled life with all its surprises.
Thanks for reading