Awareness

 

Awareness

With the increasing amount of disorder and fast pace of change in todays’ world, it is becoming more complex to navigate our way through the uncertainties. Embracing stillness seems like an impossible target to pull off given the speed of life, but without it we are not able to cultivate a deeper level of awareness, an essential component of self-mastery that serves us well. It provides us with the necessary information about our world and experiences to make informed decisions. It helps us to make order out of the chaos happening around us. As we tune up our awareness, at the centre of it all, we tap into our inner compass, our true self, directing and guiding us. In the state of awareness, we are able to turn off our autopilot mode and lay the foundational pieces that lead to living a more stimulating, meaningful awakened life.

Although this may sound complicated to do, the good news is that awareness is a skill. With practice, it can be incorporated into our daily habits and learned. It is a state of being in stillness that guides us through a centered knowing, providing us with perception and knowledge about the world around us and the situations we find ourselves in. This enables us to then interpret our circumstances and environment around u and then make calibrated decisions regarding the appropriate course of action to pursue.

“Awareness must be like the rays of the sun; extending everywhere and illuminating all.” – B.K.S. Iyengar

Being aware requires us to be awake, to pay attention and to not operate on mindless autopilot. It is very much akin to defensive driving and taking in the elements all around us. Driving defensively we remain on high alert, using all of our senses to ensure our safety. Like our GPS helps navigate us our awareness also helps us to recalibrate when necessary, in order to get us to our goal or destination. Our internal GPS opens us up to becoming more conscious about the factors at play around us, supporting us to make better choices.

When we shut off our autopilot mode and pay acute attention to both our internal experience and our external surroundings this increases our ability to tap into and engage in a more meaningful way with the world around us. It makes us better able to tune out the static, distraction and chatter enabling us to tune into our internal radar and compass more effectively. By not numbing out and staying present we are capable of reflecting on what is transpiring, stepping back and looking more objectively at the big picture of what is actually going on. This is essential for personal growth and development. Without awareness we are stumbling in the dark and miss the subtle queues and messages that are important for us to navigate the complexities of life. When we use awareness as a tool to help us navigate we can respond instead with eyes open, attentive to what we see, the sounds we hear, our emerging feelings and the scents lingering in our environment. We take all these in and use these queues to interpret and make sense of our world and situation to help determine our next steps.

Being more attentive and alert requires making an active conscious choice to be open and receptive to the flow of life. In the state of awareness we become active participants in our experience of the world. We are able to connect to that ebb and flow and hear the whispers directing our next steps. Awareness is a way of being that removes the barriers limiting our view and gives us a 360’ perspective taking into account all the senses and data regarding our situation.

Our level of consciousness also impacts our awareness. Consciousness relates to the extent that we realize and pay attention to what our thoughts are telling us. Our thoughts are our constant companion throughout our day, sharing information about our experience, surroundings and our feelings. This shapes our awareness and perception.

In order to cultivate awareness it is important to absorb all the aspects of a situation we find ourselves in. It requires being in a constant state of wonder and inquisitiveness; i.e. what do we see, what do we hear, how do we feel. Once we can interpret and understand the external stimuli our attention can then focus inward. The translation process begins with identifying what perceptions and insights come to the surface within our consciousness concerning the situation.

We must take the stance of an observer and become a witness to both the external and internal environment. The questions to consider are – what emotions are coming up, how do they make you feel, what do you realize, what are your thoughts saying to you. Listen carefully to your internal compass but remain in a state of curiosity and wonder, allowing the thoughts and emotions to surface without judgment or attachment. Tuning in to the internal messages that communicate with us from the stillness within reveals our true understanding. Responding from this level of understanding creates a more authentic interpretation of our life experience. Being in awareness we are poised to develop more mindfulness. A by-product of mindfulness is the ability to become more at peace with our world.

To help increase your awareness skills here are some practical exercises to incorporate into your daily practices:

  1. At regular intervals throughout the day make a conscious effort to tune in to your inner compass and tune out to your environmental stimuli. Take it in using all your senses. Pay attention to what you notice. As your thoughts start to surface, remain inquisitive and examine the thoughts behind your thoughts to get a better understanding of your conscious and subconscious awareness.
  1. Set aside a regular interval of time to meditate. Even a short 5 or 10-minute daily session will support your ability to learn how to tune down the distracted chatter of your thoughts and tune up your inner wisdom and voice. Meditation is a path to awareness and awaking our creative ability. It holds the space allowing for our awareness to freely surface. It reconnects us to our fullness and wholeness.
“The day you decide that you are more interested in being aware of your thoughts than you are in the thoughts themselves – that is the day you will find your way out.” Michael Singer

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