Awareness

happiness

When I read some books about meditation or mindfulness earlier. I often come across a key word – awareness. I’m curious to know what exactly awareness is. Does awareness mean knowing what I’m doing or how I feel at the moment? Is awareness a state that only guru like Yoda can get there? Am I ever aware for a nanosecond?

I find a simple answer from the book Awareness by Anthony de Mello. In Anthony’s spiritual point of view, awareness is suddenly you get another perspective on life. Wow, that sounds effortless and all of a sudden. My follow up question is: how to get there SUDDENLY?

Anthony’s 4 steps to wisdom might be the pathway to get there. From his book Awareness, he said “Put this program into action, a thousand times: (a) identify the negative feelings in you; (b) understand that they are in you, not in the world, not in external reality; (c) do not see them as an essential part of “I”; these things come and go; (d) understand that when you change, everything changes.”

I put this “program” into action and it goes like this: (a) I have a negative thought that I feel lonely at my new workplace; (b) I understand that this feeling is only inside me, not inside my new colleagues or other people; (c) I don’t see the loneliness as an essential part of “I” as it comes and goes; (d) I understand that when I make new friends at the new environment, everything will change.

As I’m an introvert, it takes me long to build new relationships in a new environment. In my new office, I work on a project alone and do everything alone most of time. When I overhear my colleagues talking, I can’t find a perfect timing to say something to engage in conversation. And I seldom take the initiative to start a conversation. One of my colleagues senses that I’m bored working alone. She gives me a snack, prawn crackers, and chats with me. At this moment, I’m aware. That’s love!

We’re surrounded by love or reality, like the fish in the ocean, but we have no notion about it.

Self-awareness

I love a simple, concise and nicely written A5-sized book about self-awareness. It’s published by Harvard Business Review Press. Although it’s a small book, it covers a lot of topics like emotional intelligence, passion, core value, data-driven path to know yourself, feedback, and growth mindset, etc. It’s a good book that can save your time as it summarizes many good books in one, like a hot pot with great ingredients.

If you would like to dig deeper into self-awareness, I suggest reading the book Insight by Tasha Eurich. Her definition of self-awareness is the will and the skill to understand yourself (internal) AND how others see you (external). After reading her book, I get a new perspective on life. I see myself and others in a new light. According to Tasha, there’re 3 types of unawareness as follows:

Lost cause

Let’s take me as an example. I used to be unaware and refuse to wake up. I didn’t accept critical feedback. I couldn’t take the perspective of others. I was hurtful to others without realizing it. I was unaware of what I did and my impact on others. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. The worst-case scenario!

Aware don’t care

Again, let’s take me as an example. I’m aware internally and externally that I’m slow on every level. I talk slow, think slow, eat slow, swim slow but fall asleep fast (That’s the only thing fast). My brother always persuades me to play video games to train up EQ and fast response. But I refuse to change through his favorite hobby. So I keep being a sloth and enjoy slooooooooooowing thiiiiiiiiiiiiings doooooooown.

Nudgable

Last but not least, let’s take me as an example again! This time, I’m unaware that I’m not a generous person. When my family spots that to me, I’m surprised. Giving more is counterintuitive to me. For example, I don’t want to give more money to my mum for housekeeping when I earn more. But I have to because my mum will nag (or nudge) me until I do so. With a few nudges and the will to change, I give more (or give in).

I’m aware that I’ve reframed my personal stories from a miserable perspective to a positive perspective, after editing my draft a few times. I feel better at the end of the writing process. That’s the power of journaling. What’s more, I gain another perspective. That’s awareness! Are you aware that I’m unaware of how you feel while you’re reading this post? Let me know your thoughts. 🙂

Happy reading! Be self-aware and insightful.

69 thoughts on “Awareness

  1. Wonderfully written! I also believe that awareness is the key to changing your perspective on life which can ultimately change what you view and feel about certain things. It’s a powerful thing which I think people need to practice more often. I’m glad that you do! Also, nice book references! I’ll add those to my reading list! Thanks! 🙂

  2. Awareness is understanding who you are and deciding whether changes are necessary. If you’re trying to change to be like others or because you think others want you to change, then the changes will most likely fail to occur or fail to remain. Only change if it makes you someone you want to be.

  3. Your last question if we readers are aware of your unawareness of how we feel about your post on awareness is funny, so here goes.
    There’s a valid idea that reality is just perception, that attitude is everything, that life will be better one day if we just try harder. The problem with this idea is that what is happening in the current moment becomes devalued, we end up striving for a life which never comes, and miss what is really going on around us.
    Another way to live is to realize that the future never gets here, the past is gone forever, and the only true reality is now. Letting go of expectations of the future and regrets of the past leaves only the now, an Awareness that life is beautiful and real and tragic, and perhaps we could all show a little more compassion to each other.
    Your post got me a little fired up, sorry for the rant!

      1. Well, it wasn’t one of those kind it was the kind that sound like a gunshot . . . . maybe that was what it was . . . either way at 12:30 in the morning when all is quiet and people are sleeping . . . . no, it was not beautiful.

  4. Although the compulsions of the modern economy venerate speed and efficiency – they are for the investors who profit from your work.

    For human beings, being slow is what facilitates being aware.

    Awareness reminds us that what is spontaneous is free and what needs to be enforced is control.

    But awareness can never be controlled. It is an unconditional and everpresent ally, that is often forgotten.

    You have done well is recognising it in yourself. In seeing that what is in you, is what you see outside.

  5. Thank you for sharing. Awareness is a b word that is thrown around often but without much explanation isn’t it? To me, awareness is built by understanding our actions have consequences for ourselves, and others. Control the controllable, and have the best perspective on what we can’t control that we are able. It’s easier some days than others, but every time the sun rises we can make the decision to shift closer to where we want to be.

    I struggle with depression. I have improved my management if it in the past three years having made the conscious choice to learn how it affects me. If I start to feel negative thoughts taking over any particular day, I know the things to do which help me change that. Right now in my life I can’t stop the dark days, but I can manage my time in the darkness to be as comfortable as it can be.

    Peace to you. Keep on keeping on being awesome.

  6. Thanks for following my blog and introducing me to yours.

    I admire you for being willing to acknowledge places within you that perhaps might benefit from changing or expanding. Growth can be challenging but it certainly is rewarding. Also, learning to accept these parts of us is growth as well. Learning to know we are lovable no matter what is huge! I’m still working on that one. Great article!

  7. This sounds like cognitive behavior therapy–an it works! However, you have to make a commitment to challenging your negative thoughts. It takes discipline as it’s easy to fall into the black hole of our monkey brain.

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