One is trying to create a change in how we are in relationship with experience. A shift from the automatic self-referential judgment to a non-self-referential discernment. Creating a preprogrammed response based on appreciating what is magical about the moment, not what it means about me can offer a strategy to enact this. It is possible to change how we react and recondition our conditioning! This can be done through intentional awareness followed by instantaneous naming and then a prompted inquiry that one can initiate before our minds sabotage our attempts to consciously respond. Normally we are not aware of what we are aware of. We may be sad, angry, looking at a flower, hearing a bird or walking on the ground but not know this. One initially needs to develop vigilance. To be actively present and on guard with a prepared and searching mind looking for what will arise in our consciousness in the next moment rather than be surprised by self-criticism that will inevitably arise. There needs to be an intentional focus of anticipation to be able to consciously be attuned to what one is aware of. One is consciously looking to see.


Initially on contact with an internal or external stimulus you instantly name what is present and perhaps what is happening as a way of anchoring yourself into the experience. Naming one’s experience is a recognized practice in mindfulness but this is usually performed AFTER one’s mind has judged the experience. I am suggesting a practice at the POINT OF CONTACT rather than after the mind’s interpretation of what is present. It is as simple as saying: “Sun, flower, music, man walking, dog running, child singing.” Importantly one does not use the word “I” as a way out of identifying with the sense of self. Be prepared to instantly respond rather than react to what is present. Try and practice this as you engage with the world.

What do we do after the naming?



We tend to be very triggered by other people. It is a natural and probable biologic response as a way of gauging where we are in relationship with other to determine our safety. When you see another person you instantly name what is present ie. man walking, woman singing etc.

This is followed by one of the following phrases.

What is your gift?

What is your story?

How are we similar?

How are we interconnected?

How are we interdependent?

Ultimately choose the phrase or phrases that resonates most deeply with you.

We want to be reminded of how connected and similar we are rather than how the other person triggers one of our unmet psychological needs that causes us suffering. We are all human and live this magical and mystical experience. We all have a unique gift or passion that calls to live through us. We are all interconnected and dependent on other. We need to be reminded to bring curiosity, connection, appreciation and delight with other rather than judgment and separation. We are also all similar from the perspective that we have our personal narrative that determines how we function in this world. We are all wounded to some degree.


The beauty of life is seeing how “AWE FULL” it is

We see a beautiful rainbow, mountains, sky, flowers etc. and the next time we see it, it has lost its impact. As humans we quickly habituate to what we experience. This may reflect a primitive biologic need for survival. If we become too engrossed in what we are experiencing we are no longer vigilant to a potential threat. We also make the assumption that it is the same and we know what it is. We become bored. “Nothing new here!” Unfortunately, we miss out on a lot. For some individuals who have a life threatening illness with a shortened life span they may experience an appreciation and joy for every moment that they never had before. What is different? The way they view and are present for the moment! Normally we are not even aware of the external sensations that we see, hear, taste, touch and smell. And if we are aware we don’t stop to savor it but quickly move on to then next sensation or quickly judge it in terms of how it will impact me.Normally value is not inherent to what we experience but what we superimpose upon it. It is possible to shift this perspective.

First we need to be aware of what is present. Conventionally we are not present to what we are experiencing. We multitask, always looking for the next sensory “hit.” We need to slow down. Focus on what we are experiencing. Be aware of what we are aware of. When we have the capacity to have a more continual awareness of what we are doing in the present moment, this helps to shut down the mental interpretation, amplification and rumination. We short circuit the default mode network of selfing. We have all experienced the awe of a majestic moment that seems greater than our human condition. This occurs when we focus our attention on the sensation and suspend our judgment of it. We begin to appreciate its uniqueness and what it has to offer.

After the sensation is named ie. seeing a rainbow, smelling perfume, touching the ground, hearing a song, tasting ice cream can one instantly pose the question:

What is the Gift of This Moment

This question helps to focus our attention on what is Awe Full in the moment. We come to each moment with an already established history and expectation about it. We need to change the lens in which we see experience so that we look without bias in order to see what is really there rather than see what we are already looking for. We see what we expect to find.

Do We Look to See
or See What We Look For

We need to stop looking for the perfect moment but be open to what is as perfect as it can be in the moment. We need to suspend our judgment and begin to appreciate the uniqueness and magic of what is present. This is not about searching for an answer to the question, but simply allowing one to be touched by what is present. Nothing is the same. Can we see the beauty manifesting in all that we experience? Can we see the interconnectedness of existence reflected in what we encounter? Can this be a reminder to have gratitude for one’s capacity to be able to be aware? Can we rejoice in being reminded of the fact that we are alive in this human existence moment to moment? Can we delight in the discovery of what is being revealed to us?

We need to train ourselves so that we have ANTICIPATORY PREPAREDNESS to pose these questions as soon as we are engaged with any experience before our autonomous subconscious self-referential judging mind intervenes.

Intentional Awareness Exercise

One can intentionally practice to bring anticipatory mindfulness to the present moment. Close your eyes for a few seconds. And then open them up. Scan your environment with the specific intent to be aware and then respond from a place of looking for what is the gift in the moment. Close your eyes and just listen. Again, bring your awareness to what is heard and then instantly and intentionally be open to what is special about what is heard. This can be performed before you smell or eat your food or are in contact with a physical sensation. One can choose a specific sensation and deliberately bring awareness to what is revealed.

Approach sensations in the moment with intentional awareness in mind. Before you encounter them be prepared to respond rather than subconsciously react.

by Dr. Phil Blustein
May 16, 2024