Awareness is my anchor, vision is my guide,
Awareness is the compass, directing where I ride.
Awareness is something that only I can bring,
Awareness is my gift to every living thing.
Awareness is a process, not a one off feat,
Awareness is a way through any challenge that I meet.
You may have noticed that the concept of awareness keeps popping up in my posts.
Looking within is a profound practice and it really is helping me to live a beautiful life.
I spend a lot of time talking to others about awareness, and this is a major theme in the Awareness and Love program I share in Australia, but it seems many people are confused about awareness and how to apply it in their lives. I thought I would write a series of posts with the intention of sharing what awareness is to me and how it is helping in my life.
I will begin by saying that the perspective I have on awareness and its cultivation has been inspired by the teachings and support I have received from the One World Academy.
What is awareness?
The practice of awareness is to simply see, to observe something as it is, for what it is, to pay attention to what is.
Sounds simple doesn’t it?
And the actual practice and application of awareness IS simple, however it is our conditioned minds and habits deeply wired in the brain that make this a little more complicated. We are all capable of observation, but we have developed a tendency over the years to go beyond observation. We see something, we hear something, we feel something and then there is most often an immediate move to label, to judge and to analyse this experience and now we are no longer being aware of what we were observing, we have become embroiled in our thoughts, our perceptions, in the stories of the mind.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Observation of oneself, of the breath, of the body is at the heart of the age-old practice of meditation. Meditation is a valuable tool to assist us in cultivating awareness.
One of the beautiful benefits of meditation is that we learn to pay attention, we learn to calm the mental chatter, we are better able to observe our thoughts and reflect on our experiences.
I see that cultivating awareness, just like meditation, is a “practice”. I find this idea helps people to understand that it is not just a one off activity, it is something we need to work on, it is a new way of living and relating that we must learn, it is a new habit we create in the brain.
What are the benefits of awareness?
To know oneself, ones thought processes and our habitual responses is very empowering. For me the practice of awareness has given me the opportunity to see my relationships, my life situations and perceptions with fresh eyes. For years my thinking has been ruled by ideals and unchecked assumptions – practicing awareness is to inquire and become aware of your thinking. This for me has been a very insightful process and liberating in the sense that I can now see it is me who has a choice in my responses and actions – that I cannot blame others, nor am I a “victim” of external circumstances. As I have shared in recent posts such as Ten Things Learnt from Ten Years of Marriage and Love Grows in Awareness, the practice of awareness is slowly but surely enriching my life and relationships, especially with my partner and children. And this I am very grateful for.
But how do you it, how do you “practice” awareness?
One of the simplest ways is to begin by observing your breathing for a few minutes each day – just observe, feel the sensations of the breath in the body, keep bringing your attention back to the breath rather than your thoughts.
What do you notice?
Here is a link to a short awareness meditation session if you are ready for a little more.
In the next post in this series on Awareness I will challenge a few common misconceptions about awareness.
I’d be delighted if you would share your thoughts and experiences about awareness along the way.
May the light of awareness shine in your life and into our world.