As we continue our look into the Habits of Masters, one of the more unique habits to explore is a heightened state of awareness. Developing an elevated awareness muscle leads to a level of sensitivity to the world that allows for insight and intuition to flourish. This heightened awareness extends to:
- Our own thoughts and emotions
- Our teammate’s or enemy’s thoughts and emotions
- The environment around us
- Natural laws and principles guiding human behavior
Perhaps you have had the privileged to work with other professionals in situations that require and foster elevated awareness levels? When I was in the SEAL Teams years ago I ended up working with a small group of the same guys for over 3 years. Much of this time was spent in the field on operations where the preponderance of our time was spent in silence. We all developed an uncanny 6th sense of the environment and what each teammate was thinking; during this time period, I noticed that the elevated awareness level waned when I left the field and went back into an office environment. Then I was pleased to see it re-surface upon commencing a disciplined yoga practice. The key element linking the field operating environment and yoga, which allowed elevated awareness to develop, is long periods of silence.
Special ops missions require silence. That silent time can be focused and intense, such as a sniper observing a target. It can also be relaxed but alert, passively allowing information to flow through your mind. Patrolling to an objective requires passive alertness, with little or no conscious thought. Finally, it can be contemplative, such as when passing the hours in a hide site. Though each situation has a slightly different mental effect, these three scenarios relate very well to three common mental awareness development techniques, for example: concentration, meditation and contemplation.
I expect few reading this email to be SOF operators, or to be into Yoga as much as I am. That doesn’t mean developing heightened awareness is out of reach! Just spending time in silence will do the trick. One of my favorite silent “practices,” is fox walking, which we’ll practice in December’s Unbeatable Mind Mastery. I use this skill while walking our families dog. The fox walk is an ancient Apache Scout practice of walking meditation, used for practical purposes on a hunt. The three main skills of the fox walk include the 3-S’s:
1. Snail’s pace – slowing your walk to a snail’s pace. Literally taking one step per 60 seconds.
2. Slow Breath – slowing down and relaxing your breathing. Letting it flow softly in and out, not controlling it in any manner. Your awareness will ride the breath like a surfer on a wave…and
3. Soft gaze – use what is called “wide-angle vision.” This is similar to how we would use our peripheral vision when walking in the woods at night.
I think you will find the fox walk a valuable tool in your kit bag to help you develop the heightened awareness of a Master. It feels great, and your dog will appreciate it too!
Train hard, stay present and have fun! – Mark Divine
P.S. To check out the new 2013 SEALFIT Calendar, click here.