Have you ever gone through a day and when it’s time to go to bed, you stop and ask yourself, ‘where did the day go and what did I do with myself?’ If so, then you’re not alone. Millions of people get up in the morning and continue through their day without ever pausing to appreciate the blessings in their lives; without seeing the beauty of the world around them; without stopping to take a slow deep breath. We become so programmed that we become aware of only two times during the day – when we smack our alarms early in the morning and when we fall into our beds at night. That is when we acknowledge our exhaustion and the reality that the next day will bring the same exact thing. But rarely do we take the time to look around us and see our true selves, and how we fit into the larger world around us. In other words, it’s time to become enlightened and self-aware.
What is “Self-Awareness” and Does it Matter?
Our prejudices, biases, hurts from the past, and misconceptions effect our perception and our self-awareness. We’re driven by habit and polluted by our past experiences. It’s very challenging to strip all of that away and perceive the world in an untainted and accurate way. It can take a lifetime to reach a high level of enlightenment.
It’s not necessary to live alone in a cave or become a religious individual to reach a higher level of awareness. All that’s really required is to pay attention and observe your thoughts.
There are many advantages to being self-aware:
- It’s impossible to feel jealous, offended, or have other negative emotions if you’re self-aware. When you’re in tune with yourself, it’s obvious how un-aware others are. You’re much more likely to feel pity when someone acts or speaks against you than to feel hurt.
- You no longer feel the need to impress anyone else. You’ll no longer chase after achievements or possessions for the purpose of showing off. You’ll be free to pursue your true passions without regard for the opinions of others.
- Simple things become much more enjoyable. Eating an orange or going for a walk can be as satisfying as driving a Ferrari. The most successful person isn’t the one that has the most. It’s the person that’s happiest and most satisfied with what they already have.
Awareness has a lot to offer. But how does one become more aware? It’s quite simple, yet arduous. Avoid the mistake of thinking that mental exercise doesn’t require effort. Becoming enlightened is challenging in the same way eating only one potato chip is challenging.
Try these strategies on your journey to enlightenment:
- Meditation is the primary tool to reach enlightenment. Buy a book or join a local group to learn how to meditate. Meditation isn’t complicated, but it must be done with a high level of expertise in order to get the most out of it.
- Pay attention. Notice your thoughts and feelings as they arise. If you’re sitting in traffic, annoyed that you’re going to be late for work, notice the feelings and consider the origin. What are you feeling? Why? Are your feelings helping in any way? Have you always responded this way in similar situations? Would a child respond the same way?
- Play the role of the observer. It’s not enough to pay attention. Strive to be objective and non-judgmental in your observations. Imagine you’re a stranger observing the situation with nothing to gain or lose. Be dispassionate. Notice the rise and fall of your emotions without getting involved. Be a scientist.
- Be patient. Becoming enlightened is like training for the Olympics. It can take years to develop the conditioning and expertise. Enjoy the fact that you’re making small amounts of progress each day. It takes time.
- Let go of the past. If you’re still upset that your dad walked out on the family when you were six, you’re not enlightened. Being dispassionate about negative experiences from the past are half of the challenge to enlightenment. Let them go.
Self-awareness isn’t just for spiritual, off-the-grid folks. Self-awareness is a worthy goal for any human being. Enlightenment is hard work, but the benefits are considerable. You’ll no longer have to be controlled by your emotions or feel the need to impress anyone. You can enjoy a freedom that you’ve never felt before – and it feels great!
So, this summer, start your journey to self-awareness and enlightenment today and yes…FIND YOUR ISH!