Practicing Awareness

 “Our greatest instrument for understanding the world—introspection . 

The best way of knowing the inwardness of our neighbor is to know ourselves.”

                                                                                          Walter Lippmann

How well do you know yourself? The foundation and practice of awareness is about putting yourself first. By curiously becoming a witness of who you are; your thoughts, feelings, memories, needs, fears, and sensations, you can strengthen your natural ability to understand and know yourself.  It gives you a psychological edge in all areas of life. People who are self-aware are in the best position to see their choices more clearly,  rise above disagreement, and freer to find solutions that feel right.

When you practice awareness it nurtures the relationship you have with your ‘self’.  It cultivates acceptance, appreciation, and patience, not only for yourself but for others.  As C. G. Jung expressed,  “Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

When faced with disturbing situations, the key to breaking any negative downward spiral is stepping back from your emotional reactions. Attentively use your senses to explore what’s happening.  Notably, your behavior is mostly driven by your desire to achieve self-worth. Even a tiny bit of self understanding and compassion  can bring  a sense of relief, perspective and make it easier to get to the bottom of an issue.

It is natural to experience unfairness in the moment of emotional turmoil.  While we selfishly defend our vulnerabilities, we may at the same time, minimize the other person. The main thing to realize, is that, our brains are simply wired to re-act from a perceived threat. For example, have you ever thought about how you act and sound when someone is angry at you? Could you consider  for a moment that they may
perceive you to be rejecting or inconsiderate? What would you most want to adjust – their defensiveness and resentment, or your genuine concern about their needs?

Taking a moment to pause and checking into your inner-self helps you to detach from someone else’s emotions. With self-awareness, you can let others ‘own’ their personal difficult feelings. Remember, you don’t have to get caught up in their story. Self-aware people have a better understanding of what is their stuff, versus what is the other person’s stuff. Be gentle with yourself.  With a sincere and caring attitude you can have a more composed approach.

Clear seeing or looking within, allows you to detect your thoughts or emotions. The Buddhist concept of clear seeing relates to a clear awareness of  what is truly happening with yourself.  It requires you to view  your experience fully with a nonjudgmental attitude. It is not always an easy task to do, especially, when you have fear, anger, or your pride feels compromised. What are you feeling, what’s going on in your body, and what triggered it?  What are the thoughts about yourself in re-action to what happened?  Bringing your attention to your breath, to your sensations, feelings, and thoughts is a practice that can keep you grounded in your commitment to honor the truth of who you are.

Take time to pause. Tune into yourself.  The goal is to live your life expressing what is true for you. Put yourself first, and be attentive to your need to feel good.