Bringing awareness into your life is a process, it isn’t something that happens overnight. It isn’t something that intense effort will bring you. While awareness practices can be found in every religious tradition from Christianity to Zen Buddhism, the awareness I am talking about here is a practical approach for quieting the mind. This will allow you to sense your environment in a way that will help you grow awareness.
One of the primary problems we face is that we are constantly reacting to things in our environment. We can’t help but to judge them on some level. True awareness comes when you can learn to quiet your mind and not immediately add your own thoughts to everything that happens to you.
The first step in achieving this is learning that we are separate from those autonomous reactions created by our brain and biology. Notice the thoughts that come up when something happens in your environment. We don’t choose to think these thoughts. They just arise naturally. It is your ability to stand outside those thoughts that is awareness. We rarely question those thoughts, even though they could be a result of past events that we wrongly judged. If we can just experience our environment without adding our own thoughts we can add a level of insight. This insight can cause exponential growth in our lives. It is often like we are experiencing things for the first time, that we have experienced many times before.
This is an ongoing process for me. I stumbled on this idea, in an effort to improve my attention. I heard a Youtuber say something that really hit home for me. “You can’t pay attention, because no one ever taught you how.” I wish I had a nickel for every time someone told me to pay attention growing up, but never offered to show me how. It is possible that I would be very wealthy.
So how do you learn to pay attention? The answer is pretty simple. You start by intentionally setting aside five or ten minutes a couple of times a day to practice paying attention. Relax and take a few deep slow breaths, and focus on something happening around you. It can be anything from the noises around you, to two or more people interacting. You also commit to not adding your own thoughts to it, and watching it like it is the first time you have seen anything like it. Two or three of these daily mindfulness breaks could help you to begin a significant growth journey.
I am sharing this with you, because this is one of the things that turned the direction of my life around. I was being held back by a lot of self critical thoughts that I just assumed were true. Once I became aware of the thoughts that were coming up, I naturally started questioning them. This process allowed me to see that we are truly, not our thoughts, how we feel, or our past. Once I started to see that 90% of these thoughts had no foundation in reality, my life began to change in positive ways. I believe yours will too.
If you would like to explore this idea further, you can take advantage of a free, no strings attached thirty minute life coaching consultation.