Shared Pause: Connection & Mindfulness
The polyvagal theory indicates that:
- there is a nervous system circuit that mediates mindfulness,
- this is the circuit that has to do with social engagement.
This gives further weight to the experiential finding that there appears to be a bi-directional link between being mindful and being connected. That is, being connected makes us more mindful, and being mindful helps us strengthen connection.
That being mindful helps connection is widely acknowledged. In fact, this is one of the reasons that motivate people to engage in a mindfulness practice.
That being connected helps mindfulness is not as widely noted. And yet, think about what opens up when you apply this finding.
You focus on fostering the experience of connection, as a situation under which mindfulness naturally arises. This is in sharp contrast to thinking of mindfulness practice as developing some sort of "mindfulness muscle," the way you would train to achieve high performance in sports. What we're talking about here is "effortless" vs "efforting".
It goes without saying that this is not to put down deliberate mindfulness practices. Just to draw your attention to another path, which you may want to explore.
What does it take to explore this? You take a shared pause with a partner, or a group of people. The prerequisites are simple: All it takes is a common intentionality to stay mindfully connected inside and with each other. You may start with the following words:
We pause together. We sense into what is. We stay with it. We share our experience. We use words, knowing that words cannot fully capture the experience. They are gateways to it, a way to process the experience and to help each other share it.
See more ideas and examples at: Exploring the Shared Pause.