Mindfulness of Meaning-Making: Rethinking Power – Realizing Potential
Just as the eternal pull of gravity anchors our body, so fear anchors our mind. Fly anyway.
The defining characteristic of human beings is our capacity to make meaning. Every single moment of our lives we are engaged in the process of bringing data into our mind’s eye, giving some valuation to that data, and taking action that we believe is right based on our conclusions.
Once we begin to see this self-authoring process in action, we can start to exercise discretion about what we bring into and value within our own meaning-making process and the life experience that we generate for ourselves as a result.
We can notice where the contents of our minds come from – what form they take:
- are they internal subjective or external objective?
- are they thoughts or feelings?
- are they real time, re-processing of old thoughts and feelings?
- are they anticipations/permutations of possible future states?
- are they pure imagination?
- are they uplifting or neutral or depressing?
- are the justificatory, inquisitive, free-ranging, critical….?
By noticing this patterning and their impacts on our well-being, on our level of energy, and the loose-ness and ease in our body, we can begin to evaluate how life-affirming, or not, our approach is to making-meaning in our lives.
As this awareness blossoms, we can reflect on how our meaning system has been created over time, the form and content that it has, and its implications for our own flourishing as well as that of those we come into contact with.
The more we work with this meaning-making lens, the more we begin to realize that this phenomenon of meaning-making is active in everyone, everywhere, all the time. That actions of all kinds are born out of this process, and that the degree of awareness individuals have about their own meaning-making capacity, shapes their sense of power and potential to create a happy life for themselves and others.
No matter how we look at it, there is one stark reality, human meaning-making is the most powerful force on Earth. Whether we think of its impact rippling down through the ages in the form of wisdom traditions; or as the speed-of-light opinion exchange via social media, it is having impact and determining our future.
The faster we become conscious of this capacity for meaning-making as the true driver to our individual and collective storytelling – and history – the sooner we can take genuine accountability for the outcomes we are creating.