THE RESEARCH BEHIND
The research into mindfulness, neuroplasticity, and positive psychology has exploded over the last decade and I’ve immersed myself in it like a psychological Sherlock Holmes.
From that forensic examination the foundational dynamics of Mindfulness Pathfinding arose.
And I am not finished!
Every new study that comes out is scoured for value and relevance.
Every person I coach becomes a collaborator because the most important thing is that Mindfulness Pathfinding has to work, and it has to work for you.
(If you think you might enjoy reading about my research findings on the non-conscious mind, then definitely check out my short, but easy-to-read book STOP!)
Pathfinding: The Technique
Pathfinding is nothing more than a formalized way of restoring the natural communication between you, your brain (Pilot), and your non-conscious mind (Pathfinder) in areas where the brain's culturally instilled beliefs hamper that communication.
We employ a form of “distanced self-talk” in which you engage your brain (and to a lesser extent, your non-conscious mind) as if it were a person. So from this point on, that’s also how I will refer to them.
The purpose of doing Pathfinding is not simply to more effectively solve problems and achieve goals, but to also do so in a way that “maximizes fulfillment.”
This works best for you, for other stakeholders, and for the greater community. It also happens to be (research suggests) the natural predisposition of your non-conscious mind.
You can initiate a Pathfinding session in real time when you find yourself in a less-than-fulfilling situation, facing a tough problem, or wondering how best to achieve a goal.
You can also do this as a sort of meditation, beginning with your favorite form of relaxation.
1. OPEN THE PATHFINDING SESSION
You open a Pathfinding session by asking your brain, Pilot (as if s/he were a person) one question:
“How do we maximize fulfillment here?”
2. CONNECT PILOT TO PATHFINDER
Pilot doesn’t have the answer.
And that can be threatening and stressful for her/him
But Pilot’s job is not to figure it out. Her/his job is to ask Pathfinder about it...and then just look at what comes up.
Pathfinder is always streaming guidance to Pilot.
When Pilot asks, there is always an answer, though it is not always verbal.
It may be an impulse for you to take some practical action (like, “Phone this person and ask...”), or an inspiration.
Or it may be that the next step is some non-conscious movement that the brain needs to take itself.
It may be an insight that levels up your experience by changing how you and Pilot see some situation.
It may be an emotional feeling, or a physical sensation that Pilot initiates to level up your experience by changing how the situation feels.
It might be an improvement Pilot brings about in your performance or in the physical health of your body.
Sometimes Pilot gets distracted and starts talking about something else, or commenting on what s/he’s getting.
That’s all okay.
Anything that comes up with is something that can lead you to maximize fulfillment here.
Just triage it.
3. TRIAGE WHAT COMES UP
If what comes up triggers a feeling of fulfillment, like, ”Hey, here’s something I can do!” or “Now I get it!” then that’s for you.
If what comes up doesn’t seem helpful or relevant to you, then table it.
That’s for Pilot to deal with later on a “non-conscious” level. It doesn’t require you to be present.
For each thing that comes up that you can act on, act on it.
For everything else you have Pilot pause so that s/he can mindfully perceive it, and then pivot from that back to Pathfinding.
As a coach, you help in this process by acknowledging what comes up. Sometimes it is just a thought, sometimes it is the beginning of a monlogue!
Either way, press the pause button by acknowledging it and then pivot back to Pathfinding.
First the pause:
“Okay, there’s that.”
Then the pivot:
“What else is coming up?”
Pilot is easily distracted; and Pilot is always curious to see what else is going on.
This coaching on your part will lead Pilot to develop a new response to fear-based thinking (create a new neural response pathway).
Pilot will learn to automatically (and that is the key) pause those thoughts and pivot to Pathfinding for better-informed guidance.
4. CLOSE THE PATHFINDING SESSION
You close a Pathfinding session when you choose. Usually though, you will feel that Pilot has ‘leveled up’ the quality or feeling of your experience somewhat.
That feeling might come because you got some clarity, or you begin to physically feel better, or you got a new idea on what action to take.
I can’t predict exactly what will constitute closure in any session for you because this is your journey.
That’s why having a place like The Source where you can talk to others about it, get support and peer coaching, is so helpful.
Start anytime. Stop anytime.