Once again, the science is in.
Ellen Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard who has been doing research since the late ’70’s – has conclusively proven that becoming mindful can change your life.
There are measurable benefits to one’s creativity, competence, psychological well-being and physical health.
All the places where we can get stuck in life (and in our creative work) – worrying about making mistakes and doing things wrong, fear of failure, attaching labels to things, living out of the past, looking at things from a singular perspective – are reduced as we become more mindful.
In other words, getting present to the moment assists us in breaking free from the constraints and restrictions that have been imprisoning us since childhood.
Although her research focuses on mindfulness as a process to actively “notice things” – it produces the same results we are looking to create more of in our work as actors.
It puts you in the present, engages you, actively opens up your listening, makes you sensitive to context, takes the focus off yourself and puts it onto the other, creates dynamic energy and it becomes literally, according to Langer, enlightening.
Study after study with various control groups has shown that people respond to other people and their respective art, music and performance – when the person creating it is more mindful.
This is staggering.
And so simple it’s mind-blowing.
So people will actually respond to you – your acting, your singing, your orchestrations, your art – when you create mindfully. When you become available to the moment, you become available to other people.
In other words, mindfulness is visible to other people. You’re leaving an imprint.
You’re going to be much more interesting, attractive and charismatic and simply stand out by becoming present in your auditions, in your work, in the choices you make simply because you’re doing it mindfully.
So you already have an advantage when you actually become present.
It’s not hard to do. It’s the work I’ve been doing with actors for over 15 years. And it comes out of the basic hardwiring of what it means to be human.
Presence is the natural state of who we are beyond the distractions of our mindless chatter of our left-brains. Children naturally notice things. They are naturally released – and present – to the now. They play and are curious and are not bound by neurologically-induced, habituated “rules.”
As we get older, our natural seeker – the present, available, mindful creator – begins to start experiencing things on autopilot. (And one could argue when we’re on autopilot we’re not even really, truly experiencing things at all anymore!) This is because the rules and restrictions placed on us don’t allow us to deviate beyond the “known.” And it also comes from being conditioned into seeing things from a singular, limited-view perspective.
Our access to experience the world from a place of possibility and potential is diminished by seeing the world from a black-and-white absolute.
Becoming mindful re-boots our inner software that’s been put on pause for years.
We can begin to re-awaken to the moment, feel alive again, become empowered and more joyful and create optimally.
Isn’t this what every human being wants more of?
Become mindful and “notice” what will happen.