Awareness: Surely in your life, there have been cases when, upon arrival at your destination in your car, you could remember only very little of what you saw during the trip. Or, opening a package of chips, literally a moment later, they suddenly noticed that all that was left in your hands was just an empty package.
This state of mind is often called autopilot as if a person were awake. As a result of scientific research, it was found that about 47% of the time that people spend awake is spent by most of us in autopilot mode, i.e. man does not live in reality, but in his thoughts in his head.
Living in this way, we often don’t notice the large number of attractions that life gives us at every step, we do not perceive many sounds, smells, joyful moments that we could appreciate.
We don’t listen to what our body tells us, and too often we use a mechanically uniform way of thinking, which becomes harmful both for ourselves and for others.
On autopilot, we tend to get stuck in a constant rush and excessive activity or engage in completely unnecessary things.
Our mind, unable to shut up for a second, is in constant motion, as a result of which we lose touch with reality and with our own body, rather soon plunging into obsessed thoughts about something that is usually associated with an already defunct past or not yet the coming future.
We become prone to anxiety, negative feelings, depression, and wasting energy.
And it was not without reason that scientists came to the conclusion that a wandering mind in its thoughts negatively affects the level of feeling of happiness and satisfaction with life.
What is awareness
Awareness is the human ability to be completely present in the present moment, to be here and now, to realize where a person is, what he is doing and what he feels, instead of concentrating on his thoughts that go beyond the framework of the surrounding reality.
Awareness is the opposite of a wandering mind, therefore, it involves turning off the autopilot mode and assuming the manual control of the helm of our attention.
We observe the habit of our minds to paint pictures and write stories about what reality is. And when we begin to blindly trust our reason, we can easily become a victim of suffering if our expectations are not fulfilled.
Therefore, we take a step back and perceive reality as it really is, no more and no less.
We begin to understand that we are not our own thoughts or feelings, ceasing to identify ourselves with them and be guided by them.
Instead of regretting the past or worrying about the future, we are in the present moment, dealing with what is happening here and now.
As we gain the skills of managing emotions and our state of mind, we get the opportunity to use our mind as efficiently as possible, instead of being its slave.
It should also be emphasized that awareness is characterized by impartiality. We do not make value judgments, saying that the event is bad, but it is good, and even if we do so, we simply realize such thoughts and let them go.
We are not upset if we experience discomfort, or because we do not receive the desired emotions. We simply acknowledge and accept everything that happens.
We do not seek to control, suppress or stop our thoughts. Choosing the role of observer, we notice phenomena that spontaneously arise, passing through us and ceasing to exist.
Whether this experience is pleasant or painful, we treat it the same way. This is the calm of the mind.
What does it mean to be aware? A conscious approach example
Remember how you usually react when you face a problem.
At first, you are either scared or annoyed, starting to question and convince yourself: “What am I doing all this for?”, “I am not good at it”, “I won’t succeed”, “I will look stupid”.
Installations of this kind only distract your attention from the work on finding a solution to the problem. Sometimes you generally put off the problem in a long box and do nothing.
But how could it be otherwise if you reacted consciously, without judgment and an internal attitude to the situation itself and your own capabilities, guided only by curiosity aimed at solving the problem that arose.
What if you directly experienced the whole process as it developed and went through each of the stages – anxiety, idea, action, result, realizing and accepting every thought and feeling without having to dwell on it and indulge in reasoning.
If you act in such a systematic way, you will begin to notice your usual patterns of thinking that make you automatically react to events in negative and useless ways, driving you into stressful situations.
Realizing, and without reacting, you expand the prospect of your objective view of the situation and can develop the most effective solution.
The benefits of awareness
- Awareness reduces anxiety, irritability, and exposure to stressful conditions.
- It is an effective tool in the fight against depression.
- It fills with mental and physical energy, helps get rid of insomnia.
- It is highly effective in managing chronic pain.
- It improves memory and concentration.
- It allows you to manage useless thoughts.
- Develops your intelligence, compassion and compassion, including in relation to yourself, and also improves you in the field of interpersonal relations.
- Improves your health (especially beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system) and enhances immunity.
- Develops clearer purposeful thinking that increases your effectiveness in professional and home affairs.
- It enhances creativity and performance.
- Increases confidence and improves the flexibility of your behavior.
- It helps to get rid of bad habits and even lose weight.
- Increases the level of happiness, prosperity and optimism.
Awareness can literally transform you from the inside out.
Developing awareness, you will find the most amazing and incredible surprise: what you always looked for somewhere “there” – a sense of harmony, contentment and integrity, was always in you.
In other words, the more conscious you are, the more happy and full life you can live.
How to be a conscious person
There are many simple ways, using which you can increase your level of awareness. Let’s consider some of them.
1. The practice of awareness in everyday life
Try to engage awareness in the daily activities that you usually do on autopilot.
For example, focus on brushing your teeth, taking a shower, having breakfast, or going to work.
Be aware of everything that you see, hear, what you touch, what smell and taste you feel. You may find that routine activities are actually much more interesting than you previously thought.
2. Don’t forbid the mind to wander
Your mind is a natural wanderer resembling a baby crawling on the floor, and there is nothing criminal about it.
Awareness does not consist in deliberately preventing thoughts from arising, but rather in not prejudicing them as familiar mental events.
Imagine that you are standing at a bus station and watching how mental buses come and go, and you make no attempt to prohibit them from entering or leaving the bus station. This may seem like a daunting task at first, but later on, you will succeed.
Just note that your mind has rushed into thoughts and quite calmly and very gently return it to reality, freeing you from discussions about the past and the future.
3. Aware, call your thoughts
To develop an awareness of thoughts and feelings, it is useful not only to identify them but also to call them to yourself.
For example, if you are worried, then you should understand that everything is completely wrong. It’s not you who are worried, but simply an idea called Alarm called you, in which case, greet her.
So say to yourself: “Hello, Anxiety, I learned and realized.”
Oddly enough, not suppression, namely, a clear and complete awareness of thoughts and feelings, helps to eliminate their occupational effects on your mind.
4. Practice awareness while waiting
In our life, filled with an endless stream of various events, waiting is an annoying source of dull disappointment, and it doesn’t matter if you wait in line at a store or in a traffic jam.
Although anticipation is not a pleasant experience, it can be an opportunity to practice awareness.
While waiting, direct your attention to your own breath. Focus on inhaling and exhaling while letting everything else just be, even if you are impatient or irritated.
5. Come up with a reminder to be aware
Choose a hint that you come across on a regular basis to put your brain into awareness mode.
For example, you might identify a door, a mirror, a coffee mug, or a cup of tea as a reminder.
Meditation is the best way to develop awareness in everyday life. The practice of meditation is how to learn the language of awareness.
As a rule, meditation is to be in a relaxed state, to focus on your breathing. The concentration of attention on each inhale and exhale allows you to observe your thoughts, constantly arising in your mind, and stop fighting them.
You realize that thoughts come and go on their own, that you are not your thoughts. You can note how they appear in your mind, it would seem from nowhere and then disappear like a bursting soap bubble.
You come to a deep understanding that thoughts and feelings, including negative ones, are transient phenomena. Thus, you have a choice: is it worth it to somehow respond to them, or let them dissolve.
If negative thoughts hang over your head, you will learn not to perceive them as something personal, but to treat them as if they were black clouds in the autumn sky, watching them with friendly curiosity as they drift past.
Developing awareness as a result of meditation will allow you to capture negative thoughts before they negatively impact you, returning your life to your control.
Over time, awareness leads to long-term changes in mood, level of happiness and well-being.
Debunking the myths of meditation
- Meditation is not a religion, but awareness is just a method of training the mind. Many people who practice meditation are themselves religious, but enough atheists and agnostics also use the practice of meditation in their lives.
- When you meditate, you don’t have to sit cross-legged on the floor, but you can do so if you want. You can meditate while sitting on a chair, and also practice walking meditation. Nevertheless, the first option is more preferable.
- The practice of awareness does not take much time (30 minutes a day is enough, but you can increase the duration to 1 hour), although it requires a certain amount of patience and perseverance. Many people quickly discover that meditation frees them from the pressure of time, so they have more opportunities to do other things effectively.
- Meditation is not a complicated process, although at first, you will experience some discomfort, as you have not done this before. You do not strive for anything, you do not crave success and do not accept the risk of failure. You just sit and concentrate on your breath, realizing how your stomach rises and then falls.
- Meditation will not stop the work of your mind and will not stand in the way of achieving your life goals. But it will allow you to see the world with greater clarity, facilitating your adoption of more reasonable and balanced decisions, correcting for the better those things in your life that really require change. Meditation will help you develop a deep awareness of the phenomena surrounding you, which will allow you to objectively evaluate your goals and find the best way to achieve them.
How to meditate
1. Determine a place for meditation
Regardless of whether you are sitting on a chair, a meditation pillow, a park bench, or located near a wall, choose a place that is convenient for you and will not allow you to fit or hang.
2. Pay attention to your legs
If you are sitting on a pillow on the floor, then cross your legs in front of you. If you decide to meditate on a chair, make sure your feet touch the floor.
3. Align your upper body
Trying to straighten your back, do not try to stretch it excessively, because the spine has a natural curvature. Allow the back to remain in a natural position. Your head and shoulders should be comfortable at the top of the vertebrae.
4. Place your shoulders parallel to the upper body
Then let your hands fall on the base of your feet.
5. Slightly lower your chin down
As a result, your gaze also rises behind the chin somewhat down. It is not necessary to close your eyes, but if you feel that you are more comfortable meditating with your eyes closed, you can close them. As you gain experience, you will most likely begin to close your eyes.
6. Body relaxation and concentration
Scan the body with your attention, and relax all its parts. Concentrate on your stomach and continue to monitor your breathing, watch your stomach rise and fall.
Don’t try to draw in too much air, let the body do everything naturally because only conscious contemplation is required of you. As a result, the subtle breath will become familiar to you.
Your attention will inevitably be distracted from concentration on breathing. Don’t worry and do not judge yourself, but simply return your attention to the right point. Attention runs away – attention returns.
In the process of meditation, don’t try to achieve any goal. Do meditation for the sake of meditation itself.
At first, you can meditate for 5 minutes, after which you yourself will feel the need to increase the duration of meditation.
Awareness is an energy that allows you to recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in your life.
You don’t need to wait ten years to experience happiness because every moment of your daily life is filled with it.
Many of us are alive but forget about it, however, when you take a breath and realize your breath, you again touch the miracle of being alive in the full sense of the word. That is why awareness is a source of happiness and joy.