This article is based on an interview I did with Tracy Brown, the creator of and facilitator for Beyond Mindfulness. You can see that interview here, or scroll down to view it on this page.
Can you picture what the first few months of the pandemic looked like? There was uncertainty, a deep sense of fear, and restlessness amongst all of us. Who knew what would happen? What shape this bizarre, hitherto unknown virus would take, what would it bring about?
Sometimes, feelings and emotions work in that manner too. You wake up some days feeling anxious and triggered for no good reason. Nothing really happened. But then, where is this panic coming from? You’re in the middle of a work commitment but then something happens, and you cannot seem to function anymore.
Among increasing conversations about mental health in the post-pandemic world, there were certain words and terms that became a part of our discourse. Mindset, changing mindsets, mindfulness, and being mindful, were some of them. Mindfulness is simply being more aware in the present moment. It is the practice of bringing your focus to what is happening in the moment. However, have you ever wondered what it would mean to go beyond mindfulness?
That’s where Coacharya’s program, Beyond Mindfulness, comes in. In the words of Tracy Brown, the creator, and facilitator behind this thought-provoking program, it is going beyond the sensory experience and expanding into a collective consciousness where the identification is not with the self or even the mind but rather it is a part of the oneness. In most people’s experience, mindfulness is about paying close attention. What Beyond Mindfulness brings is a wider awareness in day-to-day life.
One of the central themes running through this program is taking a closer look at our intentions. What is our intention behind doing particular work? Do you pause and take a closer look at what your intentions are every time you are about to have a conversation? When going through a confrontation, do you take a step back and think about where the other person may be coming from?
Beyond Mindfulness offers a space to examine our intentions: what do our intentions look like going forward and reflecting on what that means. The program enables you to actively pay attention in the moment to what is happening not just within and around ourselves, but also how we’re engaging with the world. Are we doing it out of ego? Or are we doing it out of intention?
Many people like to take time off for themselves and sing, journal, meditate, read or do something which they really care about – small activities that bring them to a calmer state of mind. But when things go haywire, when the situation does not go as planned, it is very natural to lose that calm. In our state of worry, panic, frustration, or anger, are we able to manage ourselves in a way that we would feel good about later? Are we able to pinpoint what our triggers are?
This is where Beyond Mindfulness gently focuses your attention on being aware in the moment and sensing when the triggers are being activated. It is about getting to know when things are bubbling up and being able to take that pause and relate to the other person out of a space of compassion and intention. Being able to take a step back and asking yourself, “what do I really want here?”
So who is this program for?
“Anybody willing to put in the work,” Tracy says. It’s really just about “Am I willing to be vulnerable?” Anybody wanting to open up in terms of more connection with others, a more intentional practice on a daily basis will respond well to the program. Perhaps, the most beautiful part about the program is its all-encompassing nature. It holds space for anyone wanting to be self-aware and as Tracy puts it, “anyone can come with different levels (of self-awareness) and talk about it. They don’t need to be anywhere when they come for the program.”
“Something shifts inside. That’s the beauty of the collective. We all have these different perceptions; we all have this unique gift that we bring to this world. When we have these open, honest conversations, it’s like light bouncing out of the beams refracting off of each other.”
Creator, Beyond Mindfulness
What will you get out of Beyond Mindfulness?
Tracy explains that the conversations that take place within the space of the program literally change her. “Something shifts inside. That’s the beauty of the collective. We all have these different perceptions; we all have this unique gift that we bring to this world. When we have these open, honest conversations, it’s like light bouncing out of the beams refracting off of each other.”
At the second level, Tracy talks about her favorite module from the program: compassion and forgiveness. Compassion is often confused with empathy, altruism, and sympathy. When asked about how she defines compassion, she considers the question and answers it carefully, “This deep intention, or I should say desire to not have this person suffering anymore.” It is often confused with offering help but, as Tracy rightfully points out, sometimes the most compassionate thing to do is not help the other person. She sums it up by saying, “we can still genuinely hold in our hearts that we don’t want to see the other person in pain anymore, that we want them to be as happy as it’s possible for them to be.”
How does this fit in with coaching and corporate culture?
Can you think of how setting an intention for the day and bringing your focus to the present moment, being in and acting from a place of compassion during a tough call, confrontational meeting, or simply going about your day in that manner can bring a change in your everyday interactions?
“This can’t be the program that you mandate people to take. This is the program that they choose to come to. It will have to be with the people wanting to have them,” Tracy said.
How then, does this program align with the idea of coaching? “I can’t think of a way it does not align with coaching,” Tracy adds smiling. And there isn’t really, because it is about intention, about actually thinking about what we want in a positive manner and working towards it. It’s about awareness, and being present in the moment. It’s about connecting with others, acting compassionately and it’s about asking ourselves questions. And being open to possibilities.
It really is a journey, just in the manner coaching is. Beyond Mindfulness creates a space for examining our intentions, bringing a sense of self-awareness, which then gives us autonomy and allows us to take responsibility. Beyond Mindfulness also transcends the traditional boundaries of coaching as it is not just a program that offers learning, it also enables one to operate from a place possessing knowledge about one’s emotions, intentions, reactions, and triggers.
Tracy very poignantly adds, “What an amazing feeling it is, to become aware of how your body responds before the words come flying out,” and you can’t help but think about it and smile to yourself, what an amazing feeling indeed!
This knowledge is not only helpful, but it is also freeing. The end of the program is really just a juncture for one to continue their journey of knowing who they are and using that knowledge to manage emotions as best as they can, being able to act as well as we can.