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Mindfulness and Mystery: Sleuthing Toward Interpersonal Awareness

We love mysteries.

We enjoy using our minds to gather clues and solve problems of all kinds. Whether it's the latest crime show on television, a news story, your company's top-secret product launch, or where you left your glasses, you are captivated by questions that have significance for you.

In fact, we can learn a great deal by becoming mindful of the types of mysteries that fire up our brains. By using multiple intelligences theory as a framework, we can create greater awareness of the areas that naturally appeal to us as playgrounds for mindfulness.

For example, if you find that you are frequently intrigued by dramas--gossip, soap operas, office politics, novels, or shows like "Survivor" or "The Bachelor"--pay attention to that. What it tells you is that you have a natural inclination to flex your interpersonal intelligence, or "people" smarts.

You seek clues to help you understand and anticipate the motives, reactions, and choices of others. You have an ability to see personality traits clearly and recognize behavior patterns, and you apply this knowledge to new situations and characters.

All the world is a stage to you, and you are fascinated by the players and plots.

If you enjoy observing dramas, you might as well use them as triggers for mindfulness, right? So, for example, you could select a particular cue to notice and heighten your awareness of when, how, and why it appears.

If you choose a gesture like someone putting their hand on their forehead, you could use this as your secret prompt to pay attention to what follows immediately AFTER that. An exclamation of exhaustion? A self-critical statement? A swear word?

You can do this during your conversations with others, but it's also easy to do when you are watching people in any setting--at a party, in a movie, on television.

What can you learn about this person in particular and people in general by paying attention to this gesture? What are the subtle differences between people using this gesture, and between instances when the same person uses this gesture?

Remember, to develop mindfulness we need to notice new things, draw distinctions, shift our perspective, and stay focused on the moment.

Watching for a gesture allows us to pop into mindfulness mode whenever we notice our selected trigger.
- Paying attention to the various emotions and words of the player helps us draw distinctions.
- Looking at how different people use this gesture depending on the circumstances teaches us to shift our perspective.
- Spending even a few seconds of mindful attention whenever we see that hand-to-forehead gesture gives us a simple, brief, appealing opportunity to be fully present in the moment.

Whether your interpersonal intelligence is highly developed or not, you can improve the way you pay attention to the world around you by engaging in this easy little game.
Just pick a gesture, and start noticing when it appears.

Nobody needs to know. It's your secret mission. It will take only a few seconds here and there.

You will find that this is a remarkably powerful way to improve your ability to shift your focus instantly, heighten your awareness of visual cues, deepen your understanding of how emotions are expressed, and start seeing yourself as someone who PAYS ATTENTION.

Start sleuthing your way toward greater mindfulness by watching the dramas unfold all around you.

You'll be maximizing the mysteries of life!

About the Author

Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse in Portland, Oregon. Through her company, Real-World Mindfulness Training, she teaches fun and powerful eyes-wide-open alternatives to meditation. To subscribe to her free weekly ezine, the Friday Mind Massge, please visit


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