I remember over 15 years ago, my first experience with a spiritual self-help workshop. Awkward, to say the least. The guru kept stressing the word awareness, and having us do activities like stare each other in the eyes, and all kinds of touchy feely things… all the while I was struggling with how I could be aware, if I wasn’t aware to begin with. And how would I know when I was aware? What would it be like? I had myself thinking so deeply about this that I was missing the entire class!
It’s been a fun, interesting and sometimes challenging journey as I’ve worked on my own awareness since then, and I’ve come to realize that it is a bit difficult to describe in words. Combine that with the fact that everyone’s experiences, perceptions and interpretations are so unique – it’s no wonder some guru’s choose not to explain it.
Because it is the first step to making change - whether you simply want to be happier, or make a physical, career or environment change; and because I get a lot of questions about it and I believe it helps to share our experiences – I’ve outlined what I’ve learned about awareness:
Simply be mindful that you have the ability to be aware of your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.
Create the time and space in your life to practice. Like anything, once you practice enough, it will come more naturally.
Lighten up and have fun with it. Be curious about yourself. I like to have fun with it and call it “stalking myself.”
Realize that those thoughts, beliefs and feelings might be someone else’s beliefs you gathered along the way. Stay curious, with a bit of healthy skepticism.
Accept yourself just the way you are. Avoid judging, blaming, complaining. Remain objective as you “stalk.”
Focus more on your feelings, than the words or knowledge to describe it. Just feel.
Be comfortable in the unknown, and with being uncomfortable. Often we’re taught to avoid discomfort. Dive in, pay attention to how you feel being there – hey, you’re aware of your awareness!
Be grateful that you get to ‘see inside!’ Be kind with yourself. It’s not good or bad – it just is!
If you see something you’d like to shift, that’s cool. If you don’t, that’s cool too. Avoid having expectations around it. As John Lennon said “Let it be!”
Give yourself this gift. Allow time for it. You will thank yourself!
As you take this courageous and fun journey, know that your ego may try and take over. Be kind – laugh with your ego. Work together! Our egos are there to protect us. Let your ego know you don’t need protecting here, and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the awareness! And please feel free to share something from your experience with awareness - we learn so much from each other!